The Field-Grade CTO
Smith, Roger, Research-Technology Management
If a Chief Information Officer (CIO) can manage the internal use of information technology throughout an organization and a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) can oversee the finances of an entire company, then it seems logical that a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) should be able to direct the use of all non-IT technologies across a company's product-development and manufacturing processes, doesn't it?
But technology is not finance, or even IT. Technology is both more diverse and more specialized than finance and IT, and it may be more difficult to manage with the same top-down hierarchy used in those domains. Within any large corporation, there are literally hundreds of unique technologies to be evaluated, adapted, and incorporated into products or production processes. An aerospace company may have interests in metals, composites, radar systems, and avionics. At an oil company, the central technologies may be in remote sensing, seismology, and oceanography. While they are related areas, they are also widely divergent. It is difficult, if not impossible, for a single CTO to get his arms around all of the technologies that may be important to a complex organization and provide meaningful guidance about which ones to pursue and how.
Lewis and Lawrence (1990) counseled the CTO to get out of the research lab and contribute to the business strategy: "The CTO's key tasks are not those of lab director …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: The Field-Grade CTO. Contributors: Smith, Roger - Author. Journal title: Research-Technology Management. Volume: 54. Issue: 3 Publication date: May-June 2011. Page number: 60+. © 2009 Industrial Research Institute Inc. COPYRIGHT 2011 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.