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CIO vs CTO: A Look At How These Roles Contrast And Complement Each Other

The line between business and technology is increasingly becoming blurred. Digital Innovation and adoption has left no other choice. In this evolving landscape, the roles of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) of a company and a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) have changed too. 

We need to take a closer look at how this new environment has given more power to these two highly sought after profiles. 

CTOs Have A Bigger Role To Play Than Ever Before

If the proposition that “Technology is King” is true for an organization, then it is safe to say that a CTO is the Kingmaker. The fact that this position was a fringe one about 10 years back is a testament to the fact that businesses today have changed how they work completely. The role of CTO has become such a key for an organization that even the White House appointed its very first CTO, Aneesh Chopra in 2009.

In most companies, a CTO is running an engineering team while also keeping the customer, end product and revenue growth in focus. Apart from that, they have a key role in a technical evangelist to play. 

CIOs Are No Longer At The Backseat

The roles of the Chief Information Officer and Chief Innovation Officer have merged. Traditionally speaking, the role of a CIO would be to compile and interpret data on corporate technology. Once the gathered data becomes relevant information, the CIO would implement procedures on strategic planning, operational efficiency and more. If we have to draw a strawman, a CIO would be a person who takes a backseat when it comes to running the business.

However, that’s not the case now. Catalyzed by the fact that businesses need to grow and adapt at a faster rate than ever before, a Chief Information Officer has engulfed the responsibilities of the internal role of a Chief Innovation Officer. Now, not only do CIOs have to change and evolve their own skills/ideas at every turn, but they also have to make sure their organization is evolving too. 

The contrast between the roles of CIO and CTO

One of the biggest differences between these two profiles is that a CIO generally plays a more introspective role within the company whereas a CTO would look externally. When a CIO will be looking at the day-to-day operations, a CTO would be looking at the customer’s needs. In larger organizations, it would be safe to say that the CIO manages IT infrastructure and the CTO manages the business’s technology architecture. However, when resources are unavailable, a CTO generally would take over the responsibilities of a CIO. 

Coming to the skill requirements, the technical knowledge of the CTO should be off the charts in multiple domains. If you are building one of the world’s best tech companies, you should ideally have one of the world’s best CTOs. However, a CIO doesn’t need to be too tech-savvy. CIOs need to possess organizational skills, managerial skills. It is often the case that CIOs are chosen to be employees with experience within the company while it is common to hire a CTO externally.

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AI’s Impact On The Job Market: What Kind Of Jobs Are Getting Automated Right Now?

AI began as a pursuit of human intelligence. The term itself is a representation of it. 

Although most of that quest has drifted into one sub-area of AI, Machine Intelligence. To broadly state, most of the current machine learning projects have limited domain (individually) with a large amount of data. However, they execute relatively simple tasks and are not very creative. 

Effectively, we have ended up creating machines that can solve some problems better than us, but they are nowhere close to us when it comes to “intelligence.” These AI-enabled machines are doing tasks that were being done before but in a more efficient manner. 

However, this doesn’t mean that machines aren’t taking away our jobs by these kinds of AIs. To start off with, it will mostly be routine jobs that are going to be replaced. In the near future, it won’t be the entire workforce, but surely 50-80% of jobs in multiple domains are capable of being automated. This is a significant number to shake up the entire workforce. 

When we think of routine jobs, there is a prevalent misconception that only blue-collared jobs like assembly lines or physical jobs that don’t require a high level of dexterity (like fruit picking and dishwashing) will get automated. However, it is likely that routine white-collar jobs are going to be automated.

Think of it, to replace white-collar workers, all you need is a piece of software but to replace a blue-collar worker; you need robotics, mechanical excellence, ability to deal with dexterity and the potential to navigate unknown environments. 

Some of the white-collar jobs like back offices where basic search and management of data takes place can already be replaced by advanced ML tools. Tasks that don’t require strategic decision makings like dealing with new employee orientation, simple computer programming, and copy-pasting stuff, can be done by AI.

In the next 5 years, the number of jobs lost, both white and blue-collar will be modest. However, it will increase exponentially after that when the technology improves and adoption increases. 

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Episode 5 – Vishal Krishna, Yourstory (Business Editor)

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Episode 4 – Mrinal Chatterjee, Walmart Labs (VP-Engineering)