Why Do You Need One Or the Other or Both? 

A Chief Information Officer (CIO) is responsible for the information that is both shared and produced within a company. Their key responsibilities include but are not limited to: 

  • Managing an organization’s technology infrastructure
  • Working with vendors and internet service providers to improve productivity
  • Oversee IT professionals and operations 
  • Assessing the needs of employees and departments 
  • Deploying technology to streamline processes

A Chief Technology Officer (CTO) focuses on the needs of those outside the company such as customers or focus groups. Their key responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Overseeing all tech offerings and products of a company 
  • Working with vendors to provide solutions 
  • Reviewing and using technological products 
  • Aligning the architecture of products with the goals of the business 
  • Managing the development and engineering teams
  • Increasing the revenue of the business

The Difference 

  1. Focus: CIOs focus on the internal employees and departments while CTOs focus on the customers, vendors, and other external parties.
  1. Departmental Management: CIOs manage the IT department, while CTOs are responsible for engineering and R&D teams. 
  1. Earnings: CIOs focus on improving the bottom line, while CTOs focus on the top line or total revenue.
  1. Driving change: CIOs focus on boosting productivity, while CTOs drive innovation in the product offerings.

Which One Is Right For Your Company? 

There is no one size fits all answer to this, and it will vary depending on your business and company offerings. Every company needs a CTO, but not every company needs a CIO.