Role of Chief Modernization Officer: Yin to Your CTO Ke Yangu

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by Milan Shetty, CEO of Rocket Software

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Modernization has become a hot-button topic in the technology and business landscape. With the ongoing advances in cloud technology and the limitless potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies, many organizations are eager to digitally transform and modernize their operations and software applications. In fact, 80% of IT decision makers say that their companies plan to modernize more than half of their custom applications before the end of 2022.

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With a significant push towards infrastructure modernization, many organizations have appointed Chief Modernization Officers (CMOs) to help them navigate the complexities of this undertaking. But many people still question the need for a CMO when they already have a chief technology officer (CTO) in-house. While most C-suite level positions are clearly defined, the roles and responsibilities of CMOs and CTOs are distinctly intertwined and often confused as being similar – but not so. For companies looking to modernize their infrastructure, it is important to recognize the differences between CTO and CMO and understand what each position brings to the table and why both are necessary to achieve true modernization.

Defining the Roles of CTO and CMO Begins with Defining Modernization

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The terms CTO and CMO are often confused because the term modernization has different meanings to different people. For many business leaders, modernization is about driving growth and building new business models by applying innovative techniques and methodologies to improve operations. However, this is a better definition for the process of digital transformation and this is primarily what CTOs work to achieve.

The role of the CTO is to be at the fore of emerging technologies and practices and understand how processes can be changed and improved through their implementation. A CTO is focused on creating great experiences and offerings for customers, clients, and partners of an organization, taking a pragmatic approach to improving business results, often with a “rip and replace” mindset for under- or under-performing technology. Leads with.

Modernization, on the other hand, is a more internal and holistic process that focuses on understanding and preparing a company’s infrastructure, technology, and products to succeed in a rapidly changing, digital world without changing the company’s existing operating model. A successful modernization operation is a continuum and the CMO has the expertise and attention to continuously analyze operations, uncover opportunities for optimization, and align modernization projects with business and customer goals. The CMO considers the operation of the company’s business as a whole, evaluating not only the time and resources required to achieve a particular modernization project, but also how it will affect the operations of all departments and whether this effort is worth.

Balancing the Two to Make True Modernization

Often, large-scale change projects fail because organizations fail to recognize that true modernization requires continuous change and a full pragmatic approach to modernizing tools and processes. While CTOs bring exciting and innovative technologies and tools to the table, CMOs bring the rationality and necessity necessary for projects to be successful.

Ultimately, businesses that are successful in their modernization ventures understand that when it comes to CMO and CTO it is not a matter of one or the other – rather, a balance of both. By combining the creativity and forward-thinking mindset of a CTO with the pragmatic, strategic approach of a CMO, companies can stay on the cutting edge of innovation while bringing the right modernization to their operations.

To learn how Rocket Software’s suite of technologies can help streamline and streamline your organization’s modernization efforts, visit the Rocket Software Modernization page.



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