The chief technology officer (CTO) is responsible for the technological capabilities of the ICT department. As with the chief information officer, the CTO does not provide the ‘hands on’ services related to ICT, however, the CTO is responsible for matching technology with the business needs. The CTO then documents the match so that the whole senior leadership team can decide if the business is going to use the technology.
The CTO works in a strategic and forward planning manner. The CTO presents the business with all the technological options, including comprehensive assessments that will meet future business needs. The CTO should be unbiased and not an advocate for a particular brand of technology.
The CTO will work with the enterprise architect and technology architect, to ensure that the technology solutions that have been proposed are aligned with existing technologies and that they are the most cost-efficient solution for the business.
A CTO exhibits a combination of capabilities in line with the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and the Queensland Public Service Leadership competencies for Queensland Framework.
Within the SFIA profile, the CTO has level 6 and 7 capabilities, i.e. sets strategy and initiates, influences, inspires and mobilises the skills outlined below.
Refer to the framework for descriptions of the seven levels of responsibility and accountability.
SFIA skill code
SFIA skill level of responsibility
SFIA skills level descriptor
Enterprise IT governance
Leads the establishment and maintenance of a function that provides a consistent and integrated approach to IT governance in line with the organisation's corporate governance requirements. At the highest levels in the organisation's governance activities, provides assurance to principal stakeholders
that IT services meet the organisation's obligations (including legislation, regulatory, contractual and agreed standards/policies). Ensures that a framework of policies, standards, process and practices is in place to guide provision of enterprise IT services, and that suitable monitoring of the governance
framework is in place to report on adherence to these obligations as needed. Establishes the appropriate guidance to enable transparent decision-making to be demonstrated, working with senior leaders to ensure the needs of principal stakeholders are understood, the value proposition offered by enterprise
IT is accepted by these stakeholders and the evolving needs of the stakeholders and their appetite for balancing benefits, opportunities, costs and risks is embedded into strategic and operational plans.
Leads the definition, implementation, and communication of the organisation’s strategic management framework and directs the creation and review of a strategy and plans to support the strategic requirements of the business.
Information systems coordination
Establishes, maintains and communicates the organisation's strategy for managing information and the policies, standards, procedures and methods necessary to implement the strategy. Coordinates all aspects of management of the life cycle of information systems. Represents the interests of the entire
organisation to general management and external bodies on matters relating to information strategy.
Enterprise and business architecture development
Leads the creation and review of a systems capability strategy that meets the strategic requirements of the business. Captures and prioritises market and environmental trends, business strategies and objectives, and identifies the business benefits of alternative strategies. Develops enterprise-wide
architecture and processes which ensure that the strategic application of change is embedded in the management of the organisation, ensuring the buy-in of all key stakeholders. Develops and presents business cases, for high-level initiatives, approval, funding and prioritisation. Sets strategies, policies,
standards and practices to ensure compliance between business strategies, technology strategies, and enterprise transformation activities.
Manages provision of consultancy services, and/or management of a team of consultants. In own areas of expertise, provides advice and guidance to consultants and/or the client through involvement in the delivery of consultancy services. Engages with clients and maintains client relationships. Establishes
agreements/contracts and manages completion and disengagement.
Queensland Government roles align with the Leadership competencies for Queensland.
Leadership competencies for Queensland describes what highly effective, everyday leadership looks like in the sector. In simple, action-oriented language, it provides a common understanding of the foundations for success across all roles. The profile describes three performance dimensions (vision, results and accountability) and 11 leadership competencies required against five leadership streams.
Leadership streams are not connected to a level or classification, but rather reflect the balance between leadership and technical skills required of an individual. Individuals can consider the ‘value proposition’ of roles rather than the traditional lens of hierarchical structures or classification levels. The five leadership streams are:
- Individual contributor (Leads self and does not supervise others)
- Team leader (leads a team and typically reports to a program leader)
- Program leader (leads team leaders and/or multiple areas of work)
- Executive (leads program leaders or other executives)
- Chief executive (leads the organisation).
When developing a role description, identify the role type and then focus on the most important attributes and create a balance between SFIA skills and leadership skills.
To have a career such as a chief technology officer a bachelor level degree in areas such as information technology, information systems or business is required.
Learning and development
Formal training and on-the-job experience are important ways to improve and develop the required skills.
 The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) provides a common language that integrates with an organisation’s way of working, to improve capability and resource planning, resource deployment and performance management. This role profile quotes extensively from the SFIA, under licence from the SFIA Foundation. Information about the SFIA can be found at http://www.sfia-online.org/en
 The Leadership competencies for Queensland framework plays a key role in translating the government’s ‘talent management requirements’ into clear behavioural terms. The competencies can be utilised in talent management strategies, including workforce planning, talent acquisition, leadership development, capability development, performance management, career management and succession planning. The competences can be accessed here Leadership competencies for Queensland