With the ubiquity of computer systems and information technology (IT) in businesses today, a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is considered one of the key executives in any organization. A CTO works with management, IT team members and external partners to ensure that the IT infrastructure and digital assets are working efficiently and effectively. The CTO is the final arbiter of IT management in an organization and advises corporate leadership about the need for timely investments in IT.
A CTO, along with key enterprise IT decision makers, devises the IT framework, technology procedures and practices of an organization. He sets up the policies and structures for managing the underlying IT infrastructure, which comprises all of the organization's computers, servers, computer peripherals, telecommunication systems, Internet connectivity networks, software applications, and data centers.
The CTO aligns the IT vision with the overall business strategy of the organization, and is responsible for delivering IT to the various other units of an organization (such as accounting departments, customer-service departments, production departments, and so on). The CTO ensures that all IT assets and systems are functioning smoothly for the employees and extended workforce of the organization.
The CTO works closely with an organization's internal IT team, comprising hardware and network technicians, database administrators, software architects and developers, and telecom and IT engineers. The CTO allocates specific roles and responsibilities; manages their needs and requirements, mentors them, and infuses a teamwork ethic.
A CTO frequently deals with IT vendors and suppliers, data center partners, and outsourcing agencies to buy IT assets and ensure the efficient running of the IT infrastructure. The CTO needs to possess sound negotiation skills to leverage organizational purchasing power and also to draw up the best contracts and service level agreements (or SLAs).
The CTO maintains relationships with other external stakeholders, industry lobbyists and government regulators. The CTO keeps informed about the latest IT sector happenings and industry best practices by attending technology conferences and seminars.