The Chief Information Officer – What’s the difference?

Andrew Weaver
April 19, 2022

We’re often asked to explain the difference between the roles defined as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO).

A distinction between the two can be confusing and there is often crossover but the easiest way to define the difference is that the CIO is looking inwards and is responsible for the technologies that help run the business itself, whilst the CTO is outward looking with a focus on creating technology for the customer and the market.

Chief Information Officer

  • Serves as the company’s top technology infrastructure manager
  • Runs the organisation’s internal IT operations
  • Works to streamline business processes with technology
  • Focuses on internal customers (users and business units)
  • Collaborates and manages vendors that supply infrastructure solutions
  • Aligns the company’s IT infrastructure with business priorities
  • Developers strategies to increase the company’s bottom line (profitability)
  • Has to be a skilled and organised manager to be successful

Chief Technology Officer

  • Serves as the company’s top technology architect
  • Runs the organisation’s engineering group
  • Uses technology to enhance the company’s product offerings
  • Focuses on external customers (buyers)
  • Collaborates and manages vendors that supply solutions to enhance the company’s product(s)
  • Aligns the company’s product architecture with business priorities
  • Develops strategies to increase the company’s top line (revenue)
  • Has to be a creative and innovative technologist to be successful

We might be called CTO Academy but we often work with CIO’s especially as their role is changing rapidly and becoming ever more strategic. It’s why the modern and effective CIO needs to build a broad range of management and softer skills that go way beyond traditional expectations of the role.

To find out more about how CTO Academy can help, please visit our website.

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