January 17, 2024

2 minutes

See more of:


See more of:

Executive Search

Evolution of the CIO/CTO role: technical expert to strategic leader

Around five years ago, the role of a CIO (Chief Information Officer) or CTO (Chief Technology Officer) was perceived as primarily focusing on managing IT infrastructure and operations. The responsibilities of CIOs and CTOs were to ensure the stability and security of an organisation’s technology systems and to manage the IT department's day-to-day operations.

At that time, the role of CIOs and CTOs was considered more of a technical position, with less focus on business strategy and innovation. They were seen as responsible for managing technology resources and less involved in driving business strategy and objectives.

There was then a major shift when the CIO/CTO function no longer reported to a C-Suite individual and had a seat on the strategic board, offering advice across every area of the business. 

Here are some of the ways the role has evolved:

• Strategic focus: CIOs and CTOs are expected to play a strategic role in an organisation, helping to drive business goals through technology and digital initiatives.

• Business knowledge: They must possess a strong understanding of the business and be able to align technology initiatives with the overall business strategy.

• Customer-centric approach: With the rise of digital transformation, CIOs and CTOs must focus on delivering excellent customer experiences through technology.

• Cybersecurity: With increasing cyber threats, CIOs and CTOs must ensure the security of the organisation's data, making cybersecurity a top priority.

• Innovation: CIOs and CTOs shoulsd promote a culture of innovation, exploring new technologies that can benefit an organisation.

As the pace of technology continues and there is a growing importance of digital transformation, this has led to a shift in the role of CIOs and CTOs. Today, as critical members of the executive team, they are seen as more strategic leaders, driving business innovation, improving customer experiences and have a direct impact on an organisation’s growth and success.