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The Ever-Changing Role of a CTO: Leveraging External Expertise for Sustainable Success

The modern CTO is tasked with not just aligning technology but driving transformative change, and they can embody various personas, from Business Enabler to IT Innovator and Digital Business Leader. But what’s the secret to their success? Discover how these external advisors can help your organization constantly succeed in the fast-paced tech landscape, and why the CTO’s role is pivotal for ongoing innovation.

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Technology companies have taken over the world. A record number of tech companies have made it into the Forbes’ annual ranking during the pandemic, and the aftereffects are clear; the leverage brought by our need to work remotely for two years has brought an onslaught of technology advances that are here to stay.

As the person on the top of the enterprise hierarchy when it comes to technology, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) faces limitless opportunities and huge responsibilities to make sure the company remains competitive. The role has become characterised by its need to be dynamics and multifaceted. 

The Harvard Business Review suggests that the role of the modern CTO focuses on transformative change; from aligning technology to applying technology. The role of a CTO has become pivotal in accelerating business outcomes with the use of technology. Assisted by external expertise, the CTO gains access to a wealth of innovative ideas, fresh perspectives, and industry best practices that can drive transformative change.

Gartner observes four common CTO personas: Business Enabler, IT Innovator, Digital Business Leader, and Chief Operating Officer of IT.

The Business Enabler

As companies increase their reliance on technology, the CTO becomes the Business Enabler. The CTO is responsible for the key investment decisions such as new products and features; and in qualifying the subsequent risks. External expertise is necessary in this regard as it brings a mixture of experience from similar endeavours. 

Considering a transition to the cloud? An external CTO can help you identify the pros and cons of the initiative and decide on the best providers based on your organizations’ ambitions.

Thinking about introducing a more personalized service to your customers? An external CTO will help you navigate the dos and don’ts for your organization reducing risks of data misappropriation and increasing product viability.

The IT Innovator

When it comes to IT, organizations look at their CTO as their chief change agent. The person responsible to lead, sometimes firsthand, the architects and innovators. A good CTO can continuously bring rapid and beneficial change benefiting from cloud computing, automation, and dev-ops oriented approaches.

Is your enterprise struggling to keep up with your competitors’ rate of innovation? An external CTO can bring agile practices and facilitate cross-functional collaboration. Using such best practices, IT can increment the number of daily deployments of functionality giving the business the innovation edge.

Is your IT infrastructure struggling to keep up with your customer’s workload during busy times? An external CTO can champion concepts such as containerization, resiliency testing and edge computing to detect and prevent infrastructure performance outages.

The Digital Business Leader

As the Digital Business Leader, the CTO aims to understand the trends in technology and how other organizations use them. In this leadership position, the CTO must understand market requirements and provide technical innovations that respond to the needs of the customers. An external CTO advisor can assist in overcoming organizational biases leading to an impartial market focus and a more dynamic team.

Ready to take the leap into Blockchain? An external CTO helps you explore the potential of blockchain technology for streamlining payment processing and ensuring trustful Business to Business communication by providing use cases from similar industries.

Want to improve your retail organization’s reputation with customers? An external CTO can work with the marketing and sales teams, analyse market trends and related business to produce a personalized digital experience for your specific customer segments.

The COO of IT

The CTO sometimes must also take over the role of the CIO and run the daily business. The CTO would be responsible for procurement of services and technology to run, maintain and monitor the IT services in the organizations.

Looking to have leaner IT operations? An external CTO can evaluate the IT processes, such as the help desk, and make recommendations that reduce waste and promote continuous improvement.

Interested in enhancing the productivity of your knowledge workers? An external CTO can help experiment with products, particularly low-code solutions that empower the organization’s employees.

Originally created in the late 1980s as a response to the growth of Internet companies, the role of the CTO has become increasingly complex and important in an organization. Moreover, the CTO is vital in ensuring that the organization’s well-being through a constant stream of innovation.

Given the different guises that a CTO operates on, and the importance of getting it constantly right, it is the organization’s responsibility to ensure that the CTO is well versed and well funded to perform the duties. The right external CTO advisory can provide the necessary guidance and knowledge to help your organisation constantly succeed. Get in touch with us today to explore how we can transform your business and drive innovation.

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