A CTO is not acting as a solo technology executive. A CTO is part of the community. CTOs view themselves as part of a network with multiple institutions and industries. (5) The CTO can also add value to the company by participating in government, academic, and industry groups in a manner that creates positive influence for the organization. (5)
The CTO position was initially created to insure that senior management focus on corporate technological capabilities. (6) It is important to get the attention and, at the same time, operate as an effective member of the executive team. It requires that the CTO establish solid relationships with a number of external and internal influencers.
CTOs constantly set up adoptable sets of formal and informal networks to implement the policies and to insure that they are aligned throughout the company and industry. These networks are meant to serve as the conduits through which corporate vision and direction can be communicated. There is a lot of evidence that informal networks of technologists can be used to mediate organizational problems that extend beyond the control of operational and business managers. Lewis reports the emergence of internal publications, technical seminars, lists of known experts and knowledge base. (58)
CTOs are often called upon to provide services to government, academia, and professional organizations. These services combine civic and professional duty with the opportunity to convey a positive image of the company and its products. CTOs participate in governmental committees that investigate issues of national and regional importance. CTOs demonstrate tremendous honor and prestige, and at the same time dedicate time, energy, and money. This develops CTOs as sound members of the global community. There are many rewards associated with participating in those types of committees and forums. It is a form of recognition as a leader in the field. It is an opportunity to influence the decisions of the forums and committee on a professional and senior level. There is also an opportunity to meet and interact with very senior leadership. Finally, it provides early and intimate access to the work generated by the committee. Many CTOs maintain a close bond relationship with the academic and scientific community. Those relationships lead to significant alliances and funding opportunities for research.
There are a lot of partnerships and alliances that come out of forums, committees, and academia that could be extremely valuable for a company and stakeholders. A community provides a number of opportunities for a CTO to spend the time and money, but they must be aligned with the corporate strategy. Acting in a community creates a holistic approach for a CTO to contribute to the company's success and competitive advantage. Finally, CTOs are frequently asked to participate in professional organizations and their associated meetings. They also provide an opportunity to project a positive image within the profession and to communicate important messages. Presentations allow the CTOs to tell partners, suppliers, competitors, and customers about their agnostic expertise, products, future strategy, or commitment to an industry. The Technology Leadership Council was set up in parts of the US and New York to connect the CTO as part of the regional and national affinity. Members of the Technology Leadership Council and CIO Collective emphasized that the value based relationships that are built through the professional associations provide significant opportunities with business deals and relationships.