I was putting together a short panel presentation on the role of a Chief Technology Officer in corporate innovation and I once again realized that there is quite a bit of confusion around the role of the CTOThe first thing that always comes up when you want to discuss the role of a CTO is that there is no well established definition of what a CTO actually doesThe role is very different depending on the type of company and the role technology plays in the company.
Some time ago I did some digging into the history of the CTO roles and how to best classify themI am posting it here as it might be of general interest我以前的一些来源的注意。
“如果我知道地狱You know, when Bill and I were discussing my taking this job, at one point he said, Okay, what are the great examples of successful CTO'sAfter about five minutes we decided that, well, there must be some, but we didn't have on the tip of our tongues exactly who was a great CTO, because many of the people who actually were great CTO's didn't have that title, and at least some of the people who have that title arguably aren't great at it.
My job at Microsoft is to worry about technology in the futureIf you want to have a great future you have to start thinking about it in the present, because when the future's here you won't have the time”
The first CTOs came onto the scene during the late eighties. A number of companies started to capitalize on the results their R&D laboratories were delivering and the directors of these labs were moved into positions where they could use technologies to provide the company with strategic advantagesThe role 必威体育精装版app官网ed into very different positions and there are several ways how to categorize themThere are good reasons for following any of the categorization models, but I believeTom Berray’s quadrantgives the best framework for reasoning about what makes CTOs successful:
基础设施经理– In companies where the role of the CIO becomes too complex, the CTO takes on the responsibilities for infrastructure and IT operations: data center operations, network operations, application 必威体育精装版app官网ment and maintenance, security, and other line functionsThe CIO retains the responsibility for how technology is actually used within the organizationThis is mainly a model used in traditional businesses where IT is in a pure support role.
Technology Visionary and Operations Manager– This pattern is usually found in dot.com and other technology-oriented companies where information technology is key ingredient in implementing business strategyThe CTO is responsible for determining how technology can be used to implement the business strategy. This is the ‘technology visionary’ aspect of the role. But then subsequently, the CTO is responsible for actually integrating and running the technology, i.ethe role of the ‘operations manager.’ In this pattern the CTO is often a co-founder of the business, or one of the first hires.
外部面临的技术专家– We see this model often in companies where technology is used to provide products and services to customers and partners; the CTO is the intermediary between clients and internal 必威体育精装版app官网ment and the main influencer in the 必威体育精装版app官网ment of the product portfolioThe CTO is in constant contact with key customers and is prominently involved in market researchSome of the larger software companies have successfully used this model with multiple CTOs who are seasoned technology experts and whose main task it is to be the bridge to customersA number of CTOs of software companies in the middleware space have also described the customer contact as their main activity.
大思想家– The CTOs in this model mainly spend their time evaluating how technology can be used internally to 必威体育精装版app官网ed new business models and business lines, and how to preempt competitor’s attempts to use technology to disrupt the marketsThis CTO’s responsibilities often include advanced technology, competitive analysis, technology assessment, prototyping lab, partnering, planning, and architecture standards.
In the first two models the CTO directly manages an engineering division and much of his/her influence in the organization is exerted through technology 必威体育精装版app官网ment in their own organizationI have met CTOs who manage divisions that had 500 - 1000 engineers or more.
In the last two models the CTO has a role in which he/she needs to influence other divisions to execute on new directionsTo guarantee this level of influence the CTO is often part of or close to the executive team, often reporting to the CEOThe CTO does supervise a small team (typically 10-50 engineers, depending on the size of the company) that functions as an incubator for high risk technology directions.
以下是一些来源Not all are good, but together they paint a reasonable picture and give you a good starting point for further research.