Nowadays, technology affects nearly every aspect of people’s lives, particularly in business. Technology creates more opportunities and makes working processes easier and more efficient. Back in 2003, Harvard Business Review boldly published an article 'IT doesn't matter' which provoked mixed feelings among business people and publicists. The piece claimed that IT was no longer relevant to competitive advantage. 15 years later, we are witnessing the disruption on three fronts: cloud, mobile and social technology.
Technological progress not only affects working processes but also, traditional roles in the workplace. Soon, the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) could become among the most popular ones on the job market.
The technology executive role is no longer seen as a maintainer who ‘keeps the lights on’, it is a leader who makes a difference both in innovation and the wider business. The first transformation of the role is its expansion to Chief Digital and Data Officers. The essential skillset is going to change, demanding a responsibility for defining ways of running and innovating the business with the help of data. According to David McCann, from CLEAResult Inc, 'the CTO's role becomes more strategic around how products and services are delivered to the end customer.'
The appearance of cloud, mobile and social technologies requires the integration of new software into the corporate environment. If CTOs are not capable of learning new skills and creating innovative approaches, there will be a negative impact on both innovation and overall business strategy. These days, CTOs have to be capable of driving business growth.
Another responsibility being added to CTO's daily tasks is management of all demands and devices, whilst also monitoring and maintaining user-provided infrastructure. With the growing popularity of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), employees can bring their own gadgets and use them for work. This has become possible with the development of cloud services that can effectively store data, provide flexibility and deliver the best technological performance in the corporate space. This is why it is so critical for C-level technical executives to stay up to date with tech trends and continuously learn new maintenance skills as they go.
Due to the increased influence that CTOs have on business performance, modern technology executives have to be prepared to answer some critical strategy-level questions:
1. How do we configure unique business processes and ensure that we use reliable and quickly implementable software to do so?
2. How can we use big data to better understand our customers' needs and interests, and the market?
3. And last but not least, how can we leverage the low-cost resources of the essential software without compromising security and confidentiality of sensitive information?
The ability to answer those questions means that the CTO is not just someone responsible for software maintenance, but is an executive-level professional who has learned how to multitask and combine different skills that include the ability to deliver the best technological performance and business leadership.