CIO CTO differences in large companies

CIO/CTO directors in technology

The digital transformation has transformed the IT and IT-related professions from support functions to actors in the company's strategy. Their roles are expanding and represent a challenge forThey are becoming more and more important for large companies. Turning to the integration of new functions for consolidate the technical support department. They are headed by the CIO (Chief Information Officer) and the CTO (Chief Technology Officer). Their collaboration could be represented as working on two different sides of the same coin.

Diagram of the CIO CTO hierarchy in large companies

You may have met them, now is the time to find out more about their missions and the relationship they have with each other. 

Table of contents

Role of the IOC 

1 - Business and technical responsibilities

The CIO has a dual expertise, he/she must have both a good understanding of the business and a good command of the technical side. As head of the IT department, he or she ensures that the company's IS investments are consistent with its business objectives. He or she meets the company's current and future needs in terms of information processing. 

The CIO leads internal affairs, plans the IT department's improvement strategy, drives IT operations to meet the business strategy (software, hardware, network, staff, budget...) and finds business partners and suppliers to boost productivity and complete its missions. FinOps is often found in this team in terms of taking responsibility for actions and evangelisation.

2 - Management issues and difficulties

Responding to challenges in increasingly varied sectors (technology, health, telecommunications, e-commerce, resale, etc.), access to this level of expertise requires extensive experience in the field and a mastery of processes related to the company's missions. The CIO must: dThe CIO must: define the right procedure to ensure that the needs of their users are met, negotiate the contract with suppliers and even initiate a PoC with the business for a new service.

Taking the right balance between managerial responsibilities and the proper management of technical information systems was difficult for one person per team.

Role of the CTO

1 - A technically oriented executive

Initially created to respond to the overload of managerial and technical responsibilities of the CIO, the position of CTO responds to the need to harmoniously share the direction of the IS. 

He is the leader in charge of managing the technical infrastructure. His or her responsibilities include the management of technical teams, the proper maintenance of production and the development of internal applications. He/she is constantly on the lookout for new developments in the market and its direction in order to propose the best strategy and make decisions regarding technology. His/her objectives include scaling up applications, product evolution, steering actions, managing technical audits to identify obsolete structures and innovation opportunities.

As an expert, he also has the opportunity to communicate directly with clients to provide his knowledge.

2 - Optimisation and innovation missions 

The CTO meets the technical needs of the infrastructure. In this role, he/she ensures the use, efficiency and safety of the products used in the organisation. Looking for innovative ideas to improve growth, he/she must have a broad and precise vision of the IT business (web development, social media, big data, cloud computing, mobile technology...). Involving many financial resources, his team is linked with FinOps to control expenses with reporting and implement optimization actions on the Cloud.

Relationship between CIO and CTO

1 - Reporting to the CEO

As members of the executive board, the CIO and CTO are accountable to their superior: the CEO. They respectively perform detailed reporting of their actions. Together, they think about digital strategies and communicate decisions to be taken and then apply them to their units.

Their common mission is to develop technologies and strategies to expand the business.

2 - Complementary management

To ensure that their strategies and priorities are aligned with a common vision, the CIO and CTO need to keep each other informed of each other's progress in order to drive their actions.

The CIO focuses more specifically on internal tasks (benefits and productivity of the engineering and development teams) and will collaborate with the CTO on external processes (products, customers, revenues, innovation of teams and operations). Their exchanges are oriented towards shared topics (diagram below).

Diagram of topics shared between CIO and CTO

This complementarity of positions makes collaboration indispensable for management. They discuss areas such as: problem solving, technical innovations, pooling of resources, business strategy, target setting and prioritisation. 

3 - FinOps, a guarantee of success 

These executives will exchange to pool resources and control the management of the instances. Together they devise a FinOps implementation plan to optimise costs. This plan is often managed by the CIO and implemented by the CTO.

The success of their The success of their collaboration is a guarantee of success for the FinOps activity. In order to achieve a rapid ROI, a Cloud Spend Management tool can help them to streamline their actions, working on a common and automated basis.

Some examples are given below:

Team CIO

Team CTO



Ensuring the FinOps process

Drawing up budget forecasts

Managing alerts

Provide reporting to top management 

Have pre-filtered automated reporting

Receive alerts

Consult the budget


Suggest optimisations

Follow the reservation plans 

Accept or reject optimisations

Tracking tasks

These businesses prove that the future of business will be technology and innovation driven. There is no doubt that now is the time to integrate Cloud and FinOps into your business evolution strategy. 

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