What is the Difference Between a CIO and a CTO?

There is no universal definition but to me;

CTO

Has a bias to working “in” the team rather than “on” the team.

Has a bias to look “in” rather than “out” from the Tech Team.

Is passionate about Technology and how it can be used to create competitive advantage for their company.

Reads Hacker News, Slashdot, has and uses a GitHub account.

Might have come up through the more “technical” routes of Architect, Development Manager etc.

Is the primary technology evangelist and advocate in the company.

CIO

Has a bias to working “on” the team rather than “in” the team.

Has a bias to look “out” rather than “in” from the Tech Team.

Is passionate about getting a positive ROI from the company’s technology spend and how much competitive advantage is being created for their company.

Reads forbes.com, wsj.com and is thinking about doing an MBA one day…

Might have come up through the less “technical” routes of Service Delivery, Programme Director etc.

Very much views technology as a “how” not a “what”

 

Of course a company wants/needs both of these perspectives to varying degrees during different stages of its growth and it’s why having a CIO and CTO might be the optimum structure once a company has reached the appropriate size/maturity.

 


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