How should responsibilities be divided between the CIO and the CTO in the enterprise?

16.4k views1 Upvote10 Comments

Eurasia Director of Information Technology in Energy and Utilities, 5,001 - 10,000 employees
Great question which I was discussing internally and I think I found publication which describes the differencies between both roles in the organization. In summary:
The key difference to remember is that a CIO (operations oriented) is internally facing, focused on information systems (communication workflow), with a target to increase efficiency thereby improving the bottom-line while a CTO (technology strategy oriented) is customer facing, focused on a technology strategy, with a target to improve the end product.
Hope this helps.
Full text of the publication you can read here:
3 5 Replies
CIO (CIO) and CISO (CISO) in Software, 201 - 500 employees

Petar's explanation is great -- I see the CIO being focused on internal areas such as IT Project Management, IT Infrastructure (server and application patching/monitoring/support), IT Operations (Tier I, II, and III support; and coordination of things like onboarding and offboarding employees), and Information Security; while I see the CTO as being focused on working with the sales part of the organization to set the strategy on what is being created and sold to customers and working with Operations/engineering on how best to provide those solutions

no title, Self-employed

CTO is in charge that all technology related features works in production. CIO is the same, but for internal operations : he is in charge of making human do their jobs, and have the tools to do so.

CIO Services Consultant in Services (non-Government), 51 - 200 employees

I've seen two models in my time. The first is the more traditional model. The CIO and CTO are either peers or the CTO is subordinate. (Opposite in a software company). The CTO is focused on app dev and architecture, CIO on business strategy, alignment, and operations. The alternative model I saw was in a large enterprise that was heavy on internal app dev. The CIO had 4 app dev VPs that were aligned with specific business areas plus a CTO who was responsible for architecture, infrastructure, and operations.

CIO in Manufacturing, 11 - 50 employees
Where CIO needs to have knowledge of the business & process and bridge the gap by implementing right solutions. He needs to find the users requirement who are his internal customers and needs to give them very comfortable environment to do routine work. CIO should ensure that SOPs & Policies are in place and strictly follow the same.CTO needs to ensure that he is giving correct infrastructure keeping in mind future growth of the company. He should give viable infrastructure solution. CTO should ensure that resources are used to the fullest. Periodically take the review of the present infrastructure and latest technology adapted in the market.
Chief Digital / Information Officer in Healthcare and Biotech, 51 - 200 employees
Really good question - and one that can be quite devisive in some organisations. Why? Because often the CTO (and increasingly the CDO) role can be seen as the “sexy” transformational role - often with hints of “startup founder”, whilst the CIO role can be seen as more management, BAU, more corporate and less creative. Personally, I think the more we create these boundaries between BAU IT, “Digital” and “Change” functions, the less agile and innovative the overall technology function of the organisation will be. I’m lucky enough to have a dual role in a relatively small enterprise, but what I see happening in much larger enterprises is a constant resource land grab between digital, change and run functions. Digital end up with the Macbooks, beanbags and funky garages in Shoreditch; “Change” end up with a fleet of scrum rooms and unused MS project licences; and BAU IT still have to keep the lights on - for little recognition. (And lest we forget, the CISO team are walking round with their clipboards, saying no, and adding forms and processes) A caricature, of course, but not completely devoid from reality.For me, it’s more about finding the right people for these two roles.I think the key is to find a complementary pairing. CTOs need to be innovators and strategic thinkers, good thought leaders, restless horizon-watchers; whilst CIOs need to be great problem solvers, have really good decision making and critical thinking skills, and be credible internal influencers. For me, the goal has to be to find a pair (or more) of complementary experts and let them work out how to devide the workload in a way that doesn’t appear to value some aspect of the technology function more than others, and more importantly doesn’t create infighting and stifle innovation across the business - whether that’s user experience, productivity, BI, marketing, whatever.
CTO in Software, 11 - 50 employees
First, we need to stop talking about "divided responsibilities". If you want to transform your Enterprise into a collaborative, resilient entity, the model is "shared responsibilities" (aka: moving the business forward). Once that context is established, the CTO and their respective teams, which are typically Engineering and Product, tend to be more "external facing" while the CIO and their respective teams, tend to be more "internal facing" to enable business and employee productivity and delight. Each should then leverage key learnings from each other, including shared code repositories.
CTO in Software, 51 - 200 employees
The question is really great, the CIO and CTO work on the same things just work with the different parties. Basically, there is a peer to peer connection between CIO and CTO and as per my point of view, the main difference between the CIO and CTO is just the communication and approach.Technically both need to work for the new technologies, technical architecture, technical support, POC of things etc. The difference is that CTO does all these things with/for sales team and clients and CIO does all these things with/for the development team.So in a simple term, we can understand that CIO and CTO are like the doors of an elevator (inside and outside doors) they work with each other to plan, work and serve the things for/with others.

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