Four Models for success for the CTO / CIO- CTOVision

4 By mag373 on flickr

4 By mag373 on flickr

Bob Gourley wrote a nice piece in 2009 titled The Role of the CTO: Four Models for Success where he describes an article by Tom Berray of the same title.

I missed the article when first published but ran across it on twitter last week and thought it worth pointing to and sharing.

In the article, Bob says there are four models for CTO success…or…the way I read it…four types of CTO’s:

  • The Infrastructure Manager
  • The Big Thinker
  • The Technology Visionary and Operations Manager
  • The External-facing Technologist

Apparently, Tom Berray’s work is quite well known…I’d actually never run across it at all…but its pretty darn good.

Tom’s four ‘types’ of CTO’s are spot on….and are easily transposed onto the CIO role too.

Think about the CIO’s you know…I’d bet you can place every one of them into one of the above types.

Most ‘old school’ CIO’s that I know fit into either The Infrastructure Manager or The Technology Visionary and Operations Manager mode with a focus on operations.

I’ve known a few good CIO’s who fit the Big Thinker mode as well.

What I’ve not really run across though is The External-facing Technologist CIO/CTO.  Berray defines this mode as:

External-facing Technologist” focuses his/her efforts on using technology to provide better products and services to external customers or clients

Now…there are plenty of these types of CIO’s and CTO’s out there (think about Amazon’s CTO … he’s the epitome of this mode) but I’ve not worked with many in my experience.

I think The External-facing Technologist role is one of the most interesting and challenging approaches to the  CIO / CTO role but one that many never take.

Interesting research by Berray…thanks to Bob Gourley for pointing it out.

Would love your thoughts on these four roles…drop me a comment or email.

Image Credit: 4 By mag373 on flickr

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