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Q:  What is the difference between IT Services, a CIO and a CTO?

A: IT or Information Technology is a part of every business system. IT professionals tend to specialize in the delivery of particular services.  For instance programming, web development, system administration or network architectures. Very few IT service companies can afford to maintain a staff of specialists capable of supporting every system or application.  IT service companies typically focus on particular implementation skill sets, business segments, or markets.

C level officers (Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Technology Officer) are both visionaries and managers. They are responsible for setting corporate direction and for overseeing operations.  They are tasked with identifying and managing the various vendors and technologists who apply tactics to strategic decisions.  Their solutions are integral components of 'the bigger picture' rather than isolated, functional efforts.

Q: What are the duties of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) ?

A:  A Chief Information Officer is a senior strategic-level management position that oversees all information technology systems and personnel for a firm, concentrating on long-range information system planning and strategy. The focus is often operationally based.

Q: How is a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) different from a Chief Information Officer (CIO) ?

A: A CTO is a business executive position whose focus is on technical issues in a company. The role emerged in the United States in the 1980s as a business-focused extension of the position of Director of R&D. The position is focused on technology enhancements that increase the profits yielded from research and development projects.

While a CIO is principally focused on enhancing existing strategy and tactical process, a CTO focuses more on identifying and introducing technologies that support corporate growth and transition toward future goals. The authority and capabilities of a CIO and CTO are equivalent, and in many companies the two terms are synonymous. Only the focus is different.

Q: What is the benefit of a CTO-based approach?

A: CTO benefits are two-fold. First, the future oriented approach assures a corporate advantage, and supports executive efforts that review competitive trends, innovation, and technological growth as an element of business strategy. Secondly, the broad-based approach taken by a CTO generates an environment of creative problem resolution and allows for the introduction of cost effective solutions that would otherwise be outside the boundaries of normal business operation.

Q: Why should we consider an outsourced CTO?

A: Few companies can afford full time staff whose responsibility includes investigating a broad range of technologies, including solutions whose benefits will only be achieved beyond the current fiscal budget. Outsourcing the CTO (or CIO) function passes the risk element of technology investigation to the vendor. Outsourcing to a solution provider with CTO experience also affords the benefit of broad system experience, problem identification, and resolution management beyond the capabilities of most singular IT service agencies.

 

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