CIO, CTO, and CDO: what does each job do and what is the difference between them?

Data Science & Analytics
Yasmim RestumYasmim Restum - 14 de May de 2022.

As digital transformation becomes a reality - and a necessity - for most companies that want to achieve successful results and survive in the corporate world in the future, certain positions are also becoming mandatory.

CIO, CTO, and CDO executives who understand technology and know how to get the best out of it are the most sought-after professionals of the moment. These C-Levels must combine a leadership profile with business expertise to ensure that strategies and operations are aligned with the organization's goals and policies.

When we talk about IT in such a disruptive context, the previous knowledge of these professionals is what allows more agile decision making, as well as the ability to face changes of route in business and customer desires.

But do you know what the responsibilities of these positions are? Do you understand the difference between them? So let's take a closer look at how they corroborate strategies in a company.

What does a CIO do?

A CIO can be Chief Information Officer or Chief Innovation Officer.

This professional has a very dynamic role and is responsible for leading a digital transformation project, working on strategic solution development processes, and implementing agile methodologies.

This position needs to be very attentive to the technology market to extract the best of trends and innovations, and then apply them in your company, in products or services, aiming to extract the maximum business value.

In other words, the CIO brings strategic partners to the business, dominates the risk management of digital transformation projects and investments in tech and agile, and plans the entire technology strategy for the company's innovation - thinking about the purchase of equipment and the implementation of new systems and work processes.

What does a CTO do?

The Chief Technology Officer may overlap functions of a CIO, but is usually below him or her more focused on the application of strategies. This position can also be a Chief Transformation Officer - more connected to the strategic and operational coordination of Digital Transformation in a company.

This position also needs to have a broad understanding of the business to meet organizational goals throughout its decisions. But the role of a CTO includes coordinating the technical Information Technology team.

The professional must always look for ways to apply, create, or hire technical solutions to reduce the cost of operation, bring more efficiency, and meet market expectations. And manages the hardware and software infrastructure, also creating outsourcing strategies.

It is very important to have a preventive managerial look to deal with technical and security failures, looking for the best way to reduce losses for the company. In other words, this executive combines technical vision and knowledge in business and software engineering. All this will be essential to improve the company's products, services, and processes.

What does a CDO do?

CDOs, or Chief Data Officers, have a very broad remit that can blend into the CIO role. To generate new business opportunities, revenue, products and services, the CDO thinks about the application of digital technologies to improve efficiency and security in the circulation of data in a company.

This is a position that can also take the lead in a Digital Transformation process that is already more advanced - defining new technological fronts for the company, and executing strategies that take into account digital marketing strategies and customer success.

A CDO must and needs to drive the reach of its target audience through innovation in digital processes, mapping which assets should be targeted for investment. In addition to tracking results through indicators such as ROI, following market trends, and pursuing the development of the digital brand.

Working together

Even though there are fundamental nuances in the work of each of these C-Levels, it is essential that they work together for the company to grow and reach its market objectives.

Their functions, in many cases, overlap, and that is why, despite the importance of defining a scope for each, they also need to unite their business visions so that no decision ends up negatively impacting the internal and commercial operation.


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