“To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who doesn’t know where he is going.” – Joe Namath
Like technology itself, the role of a company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is evolving. In the past, CTOs could exist within the boundaries of their own department. But with the shifting role of technology within a company— and not just internal technology but the technology of the external facing products and services— it is imperative that the chief officer of technology have a holistic vantage point of the company. The CTO needs to see everything from business goals to strategies to products being created for clients and more. It is no longer just about assisting business needs. It’s about delivering business solutions. It’s about transformation.
Meet the new Chief Transformation Officer:
The Chief Transformation Officer is not just limited to the role of overseeing the department of technology. They touch all disciplines of the company. They are in charge of everything from delivering products to helping optimize business processes— how to sell, market, communicate, collaborate and innovate.
It’s important that the CTO is focusing on transformative technology at all levels. Some companies consider technology in isolation— the internal technology of the employees separate from the marketing technology. Some have argued for a Marketing Technology Officer, and while that’s fine, it’s just providing a limited view. A CTO is still necessary to holistically see how the company’s technology is being used and make sure all components are evolving at pace.
Why is this so important? Because companies now rely on it. It’s about the technology needed to run and innovate what the company is providing. Essentially, the core value of the company.
Harvard Business Review and IBM discovered that “over 40% of their [IBM’s] profits are now coming from products and services that were impossible just a few short years ago.” This reveals the remarkable evolution that is currently happening. Think this is specific to the “tech” industry? Have you deposited a check into your back account from your phone yet? (If not, give it a try – it’s very convenient)
Companies must be constantly innovating to stay competitive— which is why the role of the Chief Transformation Officer is integral to your company’s success.
It’s crucial that the CTO has a seat at the table to be able to help identify areas in need of optimization. Better yet, CTOs need to use that seat to bring greater value – transformation in the form of contribution of ideas and strategies aimed at the growth of the organization. They can no longer work in the “isolation” of their own department. They must to have their eyes and ears in all areas of the business in order to understand how best to use technology developments to transform the processes and deliverables.
This doesn’t mean figuring out that you need to upgrade some servers or switch to the newest virtualization technology. Both are great solutions for delivering tech services. But neither are transformative to the business of your business. Neither will bring new customers to the company, drive greater revenues or greater profits. Neither will earn the respect of your C-level peers. These days, CTOs need to be innovators not “cost centers”.
Ensuring a strong overseer of your company’s technology is now vital; otherwise your company won’t continue to transform and innovate— which is now a vital component for your company’s success.
What do you think?
Do you feel your company is staying competitive with technological innovations? Do you believe a Chief Transformation Officer could make your company more competitive in today’s modern day business landscape? What can you do to ensure that your company is evolving in today’s technology driven world? Share your thoughts here!