Challenges Current CTOs Are Experiencing

rubiks_cubeDuring my meetings with CTOs in ISVs (and I have a lot Smile) I try to help them to solve their challenges.

First, what is CTO?

A Chief Technology Officer (or Chief Technical Officer; CTO) is an executive-level position in a company or other entity whose occupant is focused on scientific and technological issues within an organization. It typically involves overseeing Research and Development (R&D) activities, and formulating long-term visions and strategies at the officer level. Essentially, a CTO is responsible for the transformation of capital – be it monetary, intellectual, or political – into technology in furtherance of the company’s objectives. They typically combine a strong technical or scientific background with business development skills.


Now, when we know what is the definition of CTO, I’d like to summarize the current challenges CTOs are experiencing as I understand them:

  • Recruiting talents is one of the most challenging endeavor.If you have great talent you could probably be a mediocre manager and still excel! I do believe that people is the most important asset we have. However, there is plenty of talent in supply. What might be lacking are:
    • Ability to attract talent
    • Ability to recognize talent
    • Ability to train/coach/grow talent
  • Alignment of technology and business strategy: "What we can do does not sell, and what sells we cannot do." Need to navigate the markets.Seek to discover gaps between the realized and potential value of the applicable technologies to our customers. Technology product development is effectively the organization and packaging of available technology.
  • Execution. We are in the age when companies compete based on their execution capabilities (product development infrastructure) rather than products themselves. Building an efficient infrastructure requires systemic thinking and good system engineering practices. Not every CTO is a system engineer by birth.
  • Technology: technology is getting much simpler and more complex at the same time.But it is almost always the case that problems and opportunities get less expensive every month. So the challenge is to plan (predict) when changes to tools and infrastructure should occur.
  • Cloud! “how do I get distributed processing power in the cloud?".
  • Global market: where you are collecting data from many differing countries with differing infrastructure capabilities, where is the processing power?
  • Simplicity over Functionality: People/Customers always want a system that does it all for them rather than make the important parts efficient and effective. That is partially why SaaS is becoming more and more important everyday.

There are many challenges for a modern CTO. I summarized here my opinion, but of course, the challenges vary greatly by the industry and business size. Use the comments mechanism to add your insights.


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