If you’ve spotted our recent presentation on Slideshare (link below) you’ll have seen that 86% of business leaders think that cybersecurity is the #1 risk to their business. But, of course, CIOs have other issues on their mind as well … which made us want to look deeper into the mindset of successful IT leaders. Check out the story and infographic below.
Werner Vogels is the CTO at Amazon. By any measurement – resources, turnover, being mission critical – technology is fundamental to the success of Amazon. So we were interested to spot a Q&A thread Vogels initiated on Quora (link below) titled: Executives: What are the key traits of a great CTO or CIO?
Of course, there isn’t one answer. There is even considerable debate about the difference between a CTO and a CIO.
But an early differentiator that Vogels explores is whether the CIO is working for a dot.com type business (where IT is essentially the product), or a bricks & mortar business (where IT is the enabler).
For dot.com businesses, Vogels says that an important characteristic of the CIO is that they are a technology visionary. Within this organization, technology will be the fundamental way of achieving business goals, and will be the differentiator of the company.
For bricks & mortar business, Vogels postulates that the key characteristic for success is that the CIO will be an ‘external facing technologist’. For these businesses, technology is the bridge between the company’s core product/service and its customers.
Apart from that dot.com versus brocks&mortar fork, Vogels sees CIO/CTO characteristics which are common for either route:
– Infrastructure Management. For larger companies, the CTO deals with the mechanical aspects of technology implementation, while the CIO addresses the ‘soft issues’ of how people use the technology.
– Forward thinker. Both CTOs and CIOs need to be futurists who can spot trends and opportunities. The successful CIO/CTO will drive an organization where technology is a disruptive force that enables new services to be offered to customers.
7 Habits Of Successful CTOs.
One of the contributors to the Quora thread was Debbie Madden, CEO at Stride agile software development of New York.
Madden has written a blog post (link below) that covers the seven habits of highly successful CTOs. Here are her seven points:
#1: Make High Quality Decisions Quickly.
#2: Know When To Code.
#3: Foster Trust.
#4: Delegate Effectively.
#5: Manage Up (to the C-Suite).
#6: Set Expectations & Measure Progress.
#7: Give Timely Feedback.
Budding CIOs/CTOs will find Madden’s blog post thought-provoking. There are also numerous books on the subject (Amazon link below).
Infographic. Metadata behind CIOs/CTOs.
We synthesized a number of reference sources to discover the key thoughts and drivers for CTOs and CIOs. How they spend their time … what technologies they want to adopt … and what keeps them awake at night.
See our infographic for an insight into the CIO/CTO mindset.
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Referenced in this blog post.
Quora : What are the key traits of a great CTO or CIO?
Werner Vogels’ blog : The Different CTO Rules
Stride : 7 Habits of Highly Successful CTOs.
Amazon Books : How to become a CTO.