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Buyer Role: Chief Technology Officer

A chief technology officer (CTO) is the executive in charge of an organization’s technological needs and research and development (R&D). Also known as a chief technical officer, this individual examines an organization’s short- and long-term needs and utilizes capital to make investments designed to help the organization reach its objectives. The CTO reports directly to a company’s chief information officer (CIO) but may also write to the firm’s chief executive officer (CEO).

The core mission of a CTO is to ensure the company’s technology maximizes its business strategy. Regardless of the company’s size, age, or financial capability, this role is pivotal and crucial for a CTO.

Remember, a CIO typically looks inward, aiming to improve processes within the company, while the CTO looks outward, using technology to enhance or innovate products that serve the customers.

The CTO focuses on external customers who buy your company’s products, even if the product itself isn’t digital or technology-based. As customers become savvier and more knowledgeable about the products they use, the CTO must stay innovative and on the cutting edge of technology to ensure the company is offering the best products. Please read the following 5 considerations to comprehend the value of the presence of a CTO within an organization, making sure you know how to approach them.

1: Roles and Responsibilities

A CTO could “play” many roles within an organization. Some of them include the following:

  • Chief Technology Officer
  • Technology Manager
  • Director, Product Engineering
  • VP, R&D
  • Head of Technology Management
  • SVP Innovation & Technology
  • Research Director
  • Site Reliability Engineer

The CTO is responsible for a wide variety of strategic designs, but his responsibilities expand on more areas such as:

  • Develop and manage overall product strategy.
  • Develop the product road map.
  • Focused on current & future strategy
  • Drive change & innovation
  • Identify emerging technology & deciding which to invest in
  • Leads digital business transformation
  • Manage overall IT operations
  • Creating a seamless user experience that is simple to use
  • Work with the Innovation Lead to deliver products and services at agreed intervals.
  • Watch external industry change and manage its integration into the business, including threats and opportunities.
  • Focus on customers and metrics to ensure the positioning and innovation of the roadmap.
  • Owning the company’s tech offerings and external products
  • Using and reviewing technology to enhance the company’s exterior products
  • Managing the engineering and developer teams
  • Understand and touch all technologies the company deploys
  • Increasing the company’s top line
  • Aligning product architecture with business priorities
  • Collaborating with vendors on supply solutions

2: Gain Points

A CTO will add value in several ways:

  • Planning and designing the company’s policy for adopting technological resources
  • Accelerate speed to response and speed to value-add with end-users and customers
  • Tailor customer experiences to provide more choice and flexibility
  • Analyzing and executing advanced technology that yields a competitive advantage to the company
  • Use of feedback from stakeholders to enlighten and fortify crucial improvements and adjustments to technology
  • Making sure that designed plans and strategies concern the company’s technological interests
  • Monitor the organization’s infrastructure to ensure efficiency and operability
  • Envisions how technology will be profitably utilized within the company
  • Govern the company’s information and data, maintenance, and network the company
  • Implement technical strategies of the company while managing the technological roadmap of products and applications
  • Designing strategies on how to enforce advanced technology within the company to ensure success
  • Keeping up with cutting-edge technologies can out-compete other organizations in the IT market
  • Beating cyber-criminals and protecting valuable data and intellectual property, trade secrets, and competitive advantage
  • B2B relationship: mutually beneficial where both parties understand where the business is going, and negotiations are easy
  • Allow offloading the difficult, risky, and almost niche problems, such as the high availability of large stateful systems, security, and compliance, to a responsible party.
  • Deploy solutions that improve workflows and team efficiency
  • The predictability and uptime of systems and tools with minimal outages, access issues, or escalations
  • Remaining autonomous and free to make strategic decisions
  • Availability of personal contact at the solution provider

3: Pain Points

CTOs will be challenged to resolve adverse situations:

  • Not having enough time to keep up with the industry, I would like to keep up with more.
  • Technical debt or technology shortages
  • Multiple time zones. Many CTOs outsource their code teams. In N. America, that could mean developers in another country are about 7-10 hours ahead of the U.S. For some people, this is a critical point.
  • With that in mind, a big challenge can be the language barrier and ensuring global teams are on the same page.
  • Sales-people who don’t do their homework about their industry
  • Services that advertise with free trials without clear KPI benefits
  • Spending time and energy on things that should be delegated
  • Want value for the money put into the technology and tools supporting their applications
  • Conflicts between people
  • Applications don’t “talk to each other” well, and CTOs struggle with multi-cloud deployments.
  • New services create unnecessary workflow legacy

4. Buyer Role Map

4: Typical Tasks and Activities

Here is a list of some of the activities a CTO might perform:

  • Assist with forming the company vision
  • Develop technical blueprints
  • Research ways to innovate and grow the company
  • Evaluate technical capabilities
  • Protect the firm’s intellectual property
  • Plan processes, such as development, support, and maintenance
  • Research and supply the best tech tools to meet the company’s needs
  • Consult on budgeting and development costs
  • Building technology-based products and services
  • Research innovative solutions
  • Manage engineers and developers
  • Building the MVP (minimum viable product)
  • Hiring Programmers, IT professionals, data scientists
  • Security policies, rules, and training
  • Application Architecture
  • Quality assurance
  • DevOps: deploying, setting up, and scaling servers that run consistently
  • Team growth and retention Analyzing technology trends
  • Establishing a company strategy and pathway forward
  • Optimizing internal company processes
  • Sharing knowledge and experience
  • Identifying tech stack and picking the best technology for development

5: Questions Before Contact

Review the following questions before you reach out to a CTO to ensure that your communication will move in the right direction.

  • Are you aiming to improve or digitize a business process or a product?
  • How do you automate what you can to improve time to market?
  • How are you monitoring the customer experience with your applications?
  • Do you have any apps that are using search now? How about in the future?
  • Where are you making efforts to improve the customer experience?
  • How do you determine where to improve the efficiency and quality of your services?
  • How are you helping DevOps teams orchestrate and increase productivity?
  • What initiatives do you have to help your developers be even more productive?
  • How long does it take to manage and deploy updates?
  • Where are you experiencing frustration with various SaaS pricing strategies?

6. Additional Resources Aligned to this Role

Updated on June 27, 2023

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