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As technology drives organisations forward, we know that roles are set to change to reflect a shift in business requirements. “The traditional role of the IT division was supportive, but companies have now been fully digitized,” explains Mustapha Bokhizzou, manager of Michael Page IT. “Nowadays IT is a crucial of an organisation and drives business. That´s why many organisations now are appointing Chief Technology Officers, who partly determine the business strategy. "
For companies who want to prepare their in-house talent for the future CTO role, it´s important to know how it will develop in the near future.
The role of chief technology officer (CTO) and chief marketing officer (CMO) are set to merge into one role, ‘chief marketing technology officer’ that encompasses a combination of both IT and marketing skills. It’s reported that CMOs will spend more time working with technology than CTOs in the coming years.
Looking forward, CTOs will need to scrub up on their marketing skills and develop a good understanding of the marketing function, as well as the other corporate disciplines they’ll be supporting, in order to keep up to date with the roles’ requirements. Learning about each department enables CTOs to support the other teams, and this is one of the reasons we are seeing CTOs move into chief operations officer (COO) roles.
Ensuring that all teams are working together efficiently and productively within a business is key to success, however, good communication is fundamental to collaboration across IT and the marketing function. Business partnering roles are popular in large multination companies, but SMEs can adopt this approach by designating someone to provide the conduit between marketing and IT
The digital revolution has also unveiled opportunities for the CTO to step up into the role of CEO. Setting the technology strategy and overall direction is a key part of the CTOs role. As every company is slowly becoming a tech company through digital transformation, the CTO is in a great position to influence the future direction of the company at CEO level.
The CTO, with their skills and experience in IT, has an abundance of knowledge to bring to businesses looking to digitise. Operation excellence is par for the course for any good CTO, and the ability to organise and set procedures which guarantee service delivery are highly transferable skills which are valuable in the role of a CEO.
It is often said that the technology sector is the hardest market to attract, hire and retain the top talent. If the CTO has already had success building a strong and talented IT team, they can translate that to the entirety of the business.
Ultimately, communication and leadership are the most important soft skills for an IT leader. With the pace of technology evolving rapidly, it’s impossible for a CTO to keep up to date with every technology trend out there. A CTO’s role is about mobilising a team to perform to the best of their ability. Communicating with the board to understand business priorities and from there, delivering a service that will best support them. IT leaders need to understand what makes their business different and which areas can be altered to improve the organisation.
As the market continues to change at a rapid pace, it is important to look out for the candidates that possess the key skill sets to help drive your IT strategy.