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The Role of the CTO (Chief Technology Officer)

An organizations’ ability to successfully leverage new technological advancements plays an important role in achieving long-term successes. This responsibility falls on an organizations’  Chief Technology Officer (CTO). A CTO is responsible for exploiting their knowledge of a company’s current technological infrastructure and sourcing and implementing new technologies that align with the organizations’ goals (D’Angelo, 2023).

What is a CTO?

A CTO is a senior-level “lead technologist” of a company who is responsible for creating, executing and implementing the organization’s technological vision and strategy (D’Angelo, 2023), as well as managing and assessing the effectiveness of this strategy (Gillis, 2022). Overall, the CTO plays a crucial role in driving innovation in both business and customer-orientated processes. 

Matt Mead, a CTO at a digital agency known as SPR, explains that a CTO is vital in establishing company-wide “cohesion” and acts as the connecting link between “technology implementation and product strategy” (D’Angelo, 2023). 

Evolution of the Role of a Chief Technology Officer

The role of the CTO has evolved since it was first introduced into the C-Suite. Initially, CTO’s were only expected to manage operations within the IT department of a company (Financier Worldwide, 2019), but as technology has become integral to a business’s success, a CTO’s role has developed from managing “technology operations” to being the leaders of technological innovation (Financier Worldwide, 2019).  As new and current technologies continue to evolve, so does the role of the CTO (Financier Worldwide, 2019).

Nick Jones, Gartner’s Vice President, attributes the evolution of the role of CTO from “technology operations” towards “technology innovation” to three key factors (Financier Worldwide, 2019): 

  1. With the emergence of new technologies, business operations increasingly rely on technology to unlock efficiency, business potential, and unique offerings to remain competitive in the market. Therefore CTO’s are expected to stay on top of technological advancements. 
  2. The emergence of cloud computing has afforded companies the opportunity to diminish their reliance on physical infrastructure and move operations online using cloud services. There is, therefore, less physical technology infrastructure for the CTO to manage. 
  3. Companies are increasing their investments in product and service delivery systems that are flexible and digital in nature. As this falls into a CTO’s line of expertise, the implementation of these systems has become part of the CTO’s responsibilities.

What are the Roles and Responsibilities of a CTO?

According to Gartner’s CTO survey, while the exact roles and responsibilities of a CTO change according to the organization, a commonality amongst these roles and responsibilities are their focus on technological innovation (Searle, 2019). The survey recorded the following findings:

  • CTO’s develop innovative technology application systems – 59% of respondents agreed
  • CTO’s are responsible for managing a budget assigned to new technologies – 57% of respondents agreed
  • CTO’s are responsible for the upgrading and renewing of the company’s technology infrastructure – 47% of respondents agreed.

In the age of digital business, the role and responsibilities of IT leaders are continuously expanding. The CTO is becoming a crucial role in organisations, not only to manage technology resources, but to drive companies towards successful, competitive, and innovative tech solutions that align with business and clients’ goals.


D’Angelo, M. (2023) What Is a CTO?, BND. BND. Available at:

Gillis, A.S. (2022) Chief Technology Officer (CTO), TechTarget. TechTarget. Available at:

Financier Worldwide (2019) Evolution of the CTO, Financier Worldwide. Financier Worldwide. Available at:

Searle, S. (2019) The Evolving Role of the Chief Technology Officer, Gartner. Gartner. Available at: