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What Happens When CIO and CTO Merge into One?

Is it possible to combine the roles of CIO and CTO into a single awesome amalgamation of IT power? “Why not?” says Justin Lundy, who is himself a living hybrid of the two roles. In an interview with The Enterpriser Project’s Minda Zetlin, Lundy talks about the trials and tribulations (and triumphs) of taking on two tech exec roles simultaneously.

Challenges Bested by Balance

First off, Lundy lists his biggest challenges:

In many cases the CIO is focused on corporate IT, risk, and compliance, and the CTO is focused on consumer-facing technology and product development. The biggest challenge of being both CIO and CTO is managing the complete end-to-end customer experience, which encompasses both the internal facing and external facing aspects of innovating, building and operating a technology driven businesses. The impact is visible near instantly in your business metrics in many cases.

Balance is achieved by simply splitting time in half. Half of Lundy’s schedule is allocated to CIO activities, half to CTO activities. The result is a valuable glimpse into the possibilities of IT optimization.

A License to Innovate

Though the greater burden of a combined role forces Lundy to seek constant communication with a vast network of relevant experts (engineers, sales and marketing staff, partners, advisers, etc.) he doesn’t necessarily think it entails a greater reliance on others. In fact, being a CIO-CTO combo means greater agility. It means having a license to innovate faster, and ultimately, to bring more value to customers. And speaking of customers, whoever said two heads were better than one didn’t know a Justin Lundy, who says the dual role allows him to develop better customer relationships.

The 360 View

For CTOs becoming CIOs, it’s important to recognize the scope of your responsibilities, to see risks and security threats with a 360-degree view. For CIOs becoming CTOs, you need to communicate across a broad spectrum of technical and non-techie folks alike. It’s about building bridges all while defending the castle walls.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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