Every segment of your business, from financial and sales to marketing and HR, must be under the stewardship of a highly talented and driven leader, if it hopes to realize its fullest potential. Your technology-focused departments should be no different: If IT, data analysis, cybersecurity and other tech teams aren't properly overseen, they can easily fall into disarray and become liabilities that ultimately endanger your organization's overall bottom line.
The C-level staff titles most commonly associated with tech are those of Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer. Though there are sometimes others, like Chief Data Officer or Chief Information Security Officer, these first two are far more typical – and sometimes get confused with each other. Let's take a look at what each position generally entails and which may be best for your company's precise needs – and keep in mind that YES Partners is always ready to help you find optimal candidates for these positions.
CIO vs. CTO: The main difference
As explained by BMC, the primary factor differentiating CIOs and CTOs is that the former typically focuses on guiding the company's tech resources with the goal of improving internal processes, while the latter puts tech to work for the betterment of products and services.
That's it – at least on the surface. CIOs and CTOs also have numerous similarities. They both must have a broad and up-to-date understanding of all aspects of tech, as they may be working with any one of a company's different tech teams at any given time to accomplish their goals. (The Telegraph noted that neither of these executives needs to be an expert in any one system, though it can't hurt, as long as they generally understand all relevant systems.) Additionally, CIOs and CTOs both focus on the bottom line, albeit from different perspectives: CIOs will typically be more concerned with key performance indicators of productivity and overall revenue, while CTOs have their eyes on marketing, sales and customer satisfaction metrics.
Which role(s) does your organization need?
If your company sells any tech product or its goods and services significantly depend on customer-facing technology, that answers part of your question right there – you need a CTO to shepherd these operations. If its tech needs are almost entirely internal, you may only need a CIO.
According to Prey Project, many companies have both, so that there's executive oversight of internal and external tech-dependent functions. If it's at all financially feasible, bringing on one of each is likely your best bet. For companies that are somewhat cash-strapped, a single highly experienced tech executive with experience in both internal management and customer-facing operations can hold you over until you're able to do more hiring.
Recruitment Consultants from YES Partners specialize in finding C-level leaders for both common and niche areas of tech. To see some of the roles that we have already successfully placed, click here.
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