CIO and CTO Roles Converge and Rate of Innovation Becomes a KPI as DevOps Initiatives Mature
October 12, 2021

Ed Sawma
Transposit

Chief information officer (CIO) and chief technology officer (CTO) roles have converged at the same time as both positions have taken on significantly increased responsibility for business strategy, according to a new survey of 415 CIOs and CTOs at medium and large enterprises. More than 66% of CIOs and 78% of CTOs report their position is now directly involved in or leading business strategy.

Commissioned by Transposit, The Impact of Digital Transformation on the Roles of the CIO & CTO research reveals that the vast majority of executives reported a simultaneous increase in focus on digital transformation within their organization over the past 3 years, with 75.4% of CTOs and CIOs disclosing that this has been the case especially since the pandemic.

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Digital Transformation Powers CIO and CTO Role Convergence

Traditionally, CIOs and CTOs have served different roles in companies. While CIOs typically focused on traditional IT strategy and management, CTOs focused on developing innovative new technology, external customer-facing IT or custom software development. In some organizations that have both CIOs and CTOs, the convergence of roles has led to overlapping responsibilities and potential for friction over ownership of functions, processes or tasks.

The survey results indicate that the responsibilities of these roles have changed, with most respondents (91.8%) saying that their responsibilities changed in the last 3 years, and over half (56.4%) reporting that their role had changed significantly.

Revenue and Rate of Innovation Are Now the Top KPIs

The performance of both the CIO and CTO roles is now graded by their impact on their companies’ revenue growth. In fact, 94.5% of the executives surveyed affirmed that the performance of their team is measured by key performance indicators (KPIs) related to revenue.

When asked which KPIs their team is measured by, executives cited these top three: revenue growth (74.5%), rate of innovation (60.1%), uptime (53.6%).

With 85.3% of executives reporting that their budget has increased over the last 3 years, CIOs and CTOs have realized that finding incremental revenue means innovating faster and smarter.

CIO and CTO Roles Share More Responsibilities

The survey revealed the majority of enterprises have both CIOs and CTOs as part of their organizations: 83.3% of CIOs said there is also a CTO, and 85.6% of CTOs said there is a CIO at their organization.

Additionally, 24.1% of respondents surveyed perform dual roles, serving as both CIO and CTO. The responsibilities of these roles include ownership of software development, operating in-house developed software, managing SaaS or operating commercial off-the-shelf software, external customer experience and digital transformation, and CIO and CTOs share responsibility for these given areas.

More than a third (33.5%) said ownership of most aspects of digital transformation initiatives is a shared responsibility between the CIO and CTO. Broken down by ownership, 32% said that ownership of software development in their organization is a shared responsibility. More than a third (34.7%) expressed that ownership of operating in-house developed software is a shared responsibility in their organization.

More than a quarter (28.2%) stated that ownership of managing SaaS or operating commercial off-the-shelf software in their organization is a shared responsibility. A third (33%) said ownership of the technology for the external customer experience in their organization is a shared responsibility.

DevOps Core to Innovation Strategies as Companies Embrace Digital Transformation

After years as a bleeding edge philosophy, it is clear from the data that DevOps has become a standard practice across enterprises. Almost 88% of respondents apply DevOps practices, and 83.4% believe that DevOps is important to digital transformation at their organization.

Organizations have realized the importance of having a mature DevOps strategy to enable teams to innovate faster. A vast majority (98.1%) of CIOs and CTOs plan to expand DevOps practices and 83.4% already have a plan in place to do so.

Regardless of size, most companies who implement DevOps practices either have a centrally managed engineering organization or a platform team that provides a paved road for product teams. Companies with at least 1,000 to 1,999 employees (47.9%), 2,000 to 5,999 employees (37.9%) and over 15,000 employees (50%) have a centrally managed engineering organization with a single toolchain. Companies with 500 to 999 employees tend to have a central shared services team that distributed product teams must use for infrastructure (39.5%). Companies with 6,000 to 14,999 employees either have a centrally managed engineering organization with a single toolchain (30.6%) or a platform team that provides a “paved road” to follow for product teams, but product teams have flexibility to do things on their own if needed (30.6%).

"The definition of DevOps is evolving — it no longer means developers own ops,” says Divanny Lamas, CEO at Transposit. “As DevOps moves mainstream into the enterprise, we're seeing more and more organizations give their ITOps team the charter of managing operations for in-house built software, or build a centralized platform team to provide an operational platform for developers. It’s a trend that is gaining steam."



Ed Sawma is VP of Operations and Marketing at Transposit
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