The Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) are often confused to be similar although they require different skill sets and are focused on different objectives.

Here’s a quick rundown:

Chief Information Officer is primarily internally-facing.

  • Acts as the top technology infrastructure manager.
  • Manages the organization’s internal IT operations.
  • Works to apply technology to benefit business units and company goals.
  • Strategizes to increase the company’s profitability.
  • Negotiates and manages vendors that supply infrastructure solutions.
  • Skilled with the latest knowledge of technologies and operations to apply appropriately in the company.
  • Must be able to interface with executives and managers to explain techno-jargon to the normal person.

Chief Technology Officer is primarily customer-facing.

  • Acts as the company’s top technology architect.
  • Manages the organization’s engineering group.
  • Works to apply technology to improve the company’s product offerings.
  • Works on external business, clients, and customers.