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The Evolution of a CTO CTOs are no longer limited to adopt, drive and administer technology to make an organization run smoothly but are equal visionaries in scaling up the business

By Deepak Singh Ahlawat

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A CTO's role in a tech-startup mostly remains undermined in the larger scheme of things. However, his role is as crucial as the founders, as he/she is responsible for actually translating the business idea into reality for consumers. This role evolves as the business grows. Owing to the rapid adoption of emerging technologies in organizations across functions, the business of being a chief technology officer in a firm is also witnessing an evolution. Today, CTOs are no longer limited to adopt, drive and administer technology to make an organization run smoothly but are equal visionaries in scaling up the business, just like the CEOs and founders do.

A CTO is no more a manager but a visionary

A CTO's role today isn't any more restricted to following the commands of the CEO. They, in many cases now, are the chief business architects who are in complete authority of their role and stand shoulder to shoulder with founders in articulating and realizing the company's vision. The role of a CTO expands to analyzing market trends, closely watching the growth and fall of competitors and drawing learnings from their journey and anticipating consumer demand in the long term and prepare for the success of his business. In short, in today's highly competitive world, a CTO needs to be a tech-visionary, a fast learner who is driven to achieve market success.

Modern CTOs Ought to be Quick Learners

Artificial intelligence and automation are dramatically influencing consumer behaviour and market trends. A CTO of a new-age startup needs to keep a hawk's eye on the factors influencing these trends and ensure he and his team are quick to gauge and adopt such technologies in order to remain relevant or even scale ahead in the market. He/she must have a thorough understanding of how to marry his people, to which technologies that will help yield an outstanding business outcome. A keen-observer, a quick learner, a smart teacher, a suave technical judge are few of the qualities, which makes an ideal modern CTO.

A knowledgeable product expert

A great CTO will ensure to work with his team to establish a highly functional and affecting way of working that speeds up product development to suit the fast-evolving market need and trends. His/her sound understanding of product development will not only support the company to achieve planned business goals but also exceed market expectations. A good CTO is able to recognize early on if the business goals and product development are drifting apart and is able to steer things in the right direction and at the right time in order to be aligned with company's vision.

Have a good understating of business too

CTO's decisions should be made in the context of what is going to be most fruitful for the business in the long run. A good CTO will have an in-depth knowledge of the wider business and where it is heading. He/she will also take a keen interest in the performance of other functions like sales and marketing and will intervene if help or guidance is required. As a result, they emerge as great leaders with not only a sound technical know-how but also with a thorough understanding of entire business.

A CTO should be a great team leader

Today a CTO needs to work with a vast set of people, which may include developers, QA experts, data analysts, decision scientists, and more. In order to work seamlessly to build great products, a CTO is ought to be a people's person. He/she should be an able problem solver as while working together, large teams often may come up with differing viewpoints. He/she should be in authority to resolve such issues. A good CTO will recognize talented engineers and will create a platform for them to chalk out their own growth path. He/she would ensure that the tech team works productively with their other colleagues in the business.

Deepak Singh Ahlawat

A serial entrepreneur, angel investor and founder of Purple Quarter


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