Friday, December 29, 2006

CTO is Not Equal to IT

I received an anonymous comment that InfoWorld is a good resource for CTO's and a publication that focuses on the CTO. I have subscribed to InfoWorld for several years and initially discovered it in my search for guidance on the CTO position. However, I quickly discovered that InfoWorld is focused primarily on IT products and services. Therefore, the CTO's that they serve are usually those whose product focus is IT.



But companies that provide IT and computers are just a small fraction of those that employ the CTO position. A CTO provides executive level focus on and contribution from technologies that contribute to a company's profitability. For example, a company that mines copper would have a CTO focused on mining engineering and chemical processes for extracting copper. That CTO may not spend any time or energy on the IT products and services that the mining company consumes.

Many IT companies, CTOs, and CIOs mistakenly assume that the CTO of all companies is concerned with IT and works in conjunction with the CIO and an IT staff. I often receive sales calls from sales reps who cannot imagine that my position is very interested in new types of lasers, electronic textiles, supercomputing, and computer graphics ... but has no interest in IT products.

I certainly respect the IT industry and even have a couple of projects that are looking to extract new and powerful ideas from that field to use in other fields.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Jeff G said...

This article hits the point as well: The Long Tail: Who needs a CIO

Innovation should be coming from the CTO!

10:22 AM  
Blogger Roger Smith said...

This Long Tail blog posting is excellent ... and sad.

At my own organization I (the CTO) and workign with the CIO to identify IT technologies and practices that can be applied to our software products. I am inviting him out of the commodity service hell described in the Long Tail and asking him to help with the core mission of the organization.

Thank you Jeff G. for pointing to this blog entry.

8:46 AM  

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