With the rise of the Digital Age and the Internet of Things (IoT), the business environment is going through a series of disruptive changes that seem to alter the most fundamental aspects of the economy. It would seem that almost nothing will remain as it was before. The traditional hierarchical system begins to break down, as seen with most of the start-ups today.
These examples presented here are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the disruption brought forth by today's technological revolution.
The implementation of new technologies has taken center stage, as of late, meaning that the bridge between business and IT is closer than ever. And as a consequence, the lines between CEOs, CTOs, and CIOs are also beginning to blur. So, what are the responsibilities of these three positions?
CEO - As the most senior corporate, executive, or administrative officer, the CEO is tasked with looking at the big picture items regarding company growth.
CTO - The chief technology officer, or sometimes known as the chief technologist, is tasked with all technological and scientific issues regarding the organization.
CIO - The chief information officer, on the other hand, works with traditional information technology (IT) as well as all computer systems that support the enterprise's goals.
CFO - The chief financial officer is responsible for financial affairs within the organization. The modern CFO is using emerging technology for more strategic planning.
Does your business plan for 2019 include how your organization can best leverage technology? With technology becoming so prevalent in companies and their successes and growth, the relationship between the CEO/CTO/CIO/CFO etc is growing stronger.
The Merger of Roles
Looking at these simple definitions and together with what we mentioned previously, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that these three roles within an organization begin to overlap. As technology is becoming a significant factor in an organization's growth and efficiency, it only stands to reason that the CEO will also have to consider it.
Similarly, the CIO and CTO positions are also evolving in response to this digital transformation of the business landscape. This shift is represented by how CIOs view their roles within a company. In 2017, for instance, only 20% of CIOs still saw themselves solely in their traditional roles of managing IT operations. That number was down from 27% the year prior.
By comparison, around 50% of CIOs are more focused on implementing new systems and aligning them with the company's business goals - a figure up from 45% in 2016. Also, 31% lean towards a more strategic focus, spending the majority of their time on various business innovation and growth activities.
At the same time, however, the business side of an enterprise is becoming more tech savvy. With an overall increase in digital literacy and programming skills, it's becoming increasingly apparent that these roles are overlapping in certain areas. It was Brook Colangelo, EVP, and CTO at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who once said in a tweet that “Everybody is a technologist and everybody in technology is in the business.”
In other words, these business leaders need to forsake the traditional way of doing things and take advantage of these skill sets. They need to create an environment in which employees are empowered to innovate, thanks to today's many digital technologies.