9 Questions you should ask your chief technology officer

Technology is key to your business’s success, but are your systems performing optimally? That’s a question for your Chief Technology Officer (CTO), but sometimes gaining insights on the cost performance and productivity of your systems isn’t that simple. If you want to know how to reduce costs, boost productivity and security, and prepare for the future, here’s how to get actionable information out of your CTO. 

The role of the Chief Technology Officer

A Chief Technology Officer (CTO) combines technological knowledge and business acumen to make strategic decisions about how to best implement technology solutions within an organization. The role of a CTO is an executive-level one, but the scope of the job varies across organizations, depending on the industry and the size of the company. The following are some general responsibilities that many CTOs take on:

  • Developing and overseeing an organization’s technology strategy
  • Implementing technology in a way that maximizes productivity and profitability
  • Evaluating an organization’s IT infrastructure and implementing new technology solutions when necessary
  • Managing IT budgets
  • Staying up to date with technology trends to ensure the business does not get left behind 

As such, your CTO is an invaluable asset who can provide a wealth of information about your organization’s technology strategy. Now, let’s take a look at how best to leverage their expertise.

Questions to ask a Chief Technology Officer

If you are in a leadership position, asking your CTO the right questions can give you valuable information that will improve your decision-making. Cost reductions, productivity improvements, and better preparation for the future can all result from gaining clear insights into your organization’s technology strategy. To achieve this, here are some strategic questions to ask the CTO of your company.  

How does our technology stack affect business costs?

A technology stack emcompasses all the tools and software that make up your tech platform. Ideally, it should enhance the cost and operational efficiency of your business. Your CTO should be able to provide a detailed breakdown of the resources, infrastructure, and licensing costs of each component in your technology stack. They should also be able to justify their choices of technology, particularly in cases where a cheaper option is available.

How does our technology stack benefit or impede productivity?

Productivity can be negatively impacted by a number of technology oversights, such as implementing new platforms without effective training; using too many team collaboration tools; or introducing solutions that poorly integrate with the existing technology stack. On the other hand, technology can boost productivity through automation, improving network stability and security, and facilitating collaboration. 

It’s important to ask your CTO to scrutinize the ways in which your technology stack is helping or hurting productivity so that improvements can be made and successes built upon. 

Should we consider outsourcing anything?

Depending on both the human and technological resources at your organization’s disposal, it might be worth outsourcing some IT services to a third party, such as a Managed IT Services Provider (MSP). Outsourcing can provide specialist knowledge, drive innovation, reduce costs, and stimulate growth. 

A good CTO stays on top of the organization’s IT functions and understands the areas that would benefit most from being outsourced. Commonly outsourced IT functions include information security, disaster recovery, and IT helpdesk services. 

What impact would migrating to the cloud have on the business?

If your organization is not already using cloud computing services, some sort of cloud migration is an inevitability. In fact, delaying this process puts your company at a competitive disadvantage. Your CTO should be able to explain the precise impact of a cloud migration on your company’s technology infrastructure by answering questions such as:

  • How could migrating to the cloud affect costs?
    If you’re concerned about the initial cost of migration, or about abandoning existing hardware investments, ask your CTO to explain how it could affect your bottom line. For example, the cloud could save you money on licensing, hardware and maintenance, while improving operational efficiency and employee productivity. 
  • How could cloud migration facilitate growth? 
    A big advantage of the cloud is its ability to scale seamlessly with your business. Your CTO can provide clarity on how this compares to on premise solutions.
  • Are we ready to migrate? 
    With all of these benefits, you might be wondering why you haven’t already moved to the cloud. Your CTO can provide clarity on whether your organization is actually prepared for cloud migration. Common barriers to adoption include a lack of cloud expertise, insufficient budget, and regulatory concerns about data.

Where will technology be in five years and how will we adapt?

Not only should your CTO be acutely aware of emerging trends in technology, they should also ensure your business is poised to take advantage of any technological advancements. Ask your CTO to demonstrate how investments in specific emerging technologies will benefit your organization. They should be able to highlight how their future technology choices will align with wider organizational objectives and goals in digital transformation. 

How do we measure our return on technology spending?

It’s easy to extol the abstract virtues of technology investments, but harder to calculate the financial return you’ll make on them. While traditional cost calculations should incorporate many factors — such as hardware, network, and storage — the outcomes of improvements in productivity, operational efficiency and security should also factor into decision making. Your CTO should be able to break down how returns on technology spending are assessed and what impact those technologies will have on the organization.

Get the most out of your business technology today

Your CTO’s choices are crucial determinants of a secure and productive working environment. The decisions made by the CTO have other wide-ranging business impacts that influence costs, growth, and the ability to innovate. As a leader within your organization, make sure you get the answers to these questions from your CTO.

If you’re looking to outsource part or all of your technology operations, a  COUPLE of GURUS is here to help. We can act as your vCTO by creating an IT roadmap for your business and ensuring your business technology is optimized to achieve your organization’s goals. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us at a COUPLE of GURUS

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