Companies in the current day operating in vertices that historically did not rely or incorporate much technology are losing their competitive standing year over year as younger more nimble new comers leverage AI and automation.

I once was at a company that said out right, “We don’t need a CTO, we’re a medical device and engineering firm.”

It doesn’t matter, they’re out of business!

Despite continued urging, management would not accept the use of technology to smooth out procedural and process problems growing and developing month-over-month. Did I mention, this company went out of business?

So what is a CTO and what do they do? CTO is a designation that carries a broad range of meaning in the current business world. So if you are a software and tech company, the CTO is key man. You insure his life. He is part of and/or makes most decisions on product where it speaks to software, features, scale factors, everything else. Conversely, a CTO in a pharmaceutical company takes on a very different role that covers some similar domains found in the tech company but is more procedural and administrative then real hands on. We’re talking a delegator, outsourcer, project manager and policy and procedure writer and procurer. In many cases, the executive big company CTO leadership role is really a corporate bureaucrat that may have zero real world tech background or experience?

So how do you know how to pick a CTO and how do you know what you need? That’s a really big question. You look at the WHOLE person and the sum of their career experience. Why? Because the best CTO’s for your company are ones that understand your industry or at the very least appreciate it and have done personal research to understand it well enough to impress in an interview. When you find this person, hire them.