A good CTO doesn’t overcomplicate: Simple is better

Some CTOs, while in charge of an organisation’s overall technology strategy, are not very hands on.

Neil Briscoe, CTO at Cloud Gateway, is a “very hands-on CTO,” by his own admission. He is involved in the architecture, design decisions and technology roadmap of his organisation — a hybrid cloud connectivity platform.

The platform is pioneering Agile Connectivity in enterprise by providing agnostic-transport (MPLS, cross-connect, internet, 4G, broadband) secure connectivity from the enterprise in a cloud-style way.

“We replace the 90-120-day lead times and long contract tie-ins with immediate scalability and allow enterprises to connect their sites to any number of cloud providers transparently. This enables them to focus on the digital transformation projects while having the ability for an upcoming multi-cloud approach,” says Briscoe.

Similar to his counterparts in other organisations, Briscoe’s role — despite his hands-on approach — is primarily focused on technology innovation and creating new disruptive products that make it easier for enterprises to secure consumer cloud services.

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Customers over industry

“First and foremost,” according to Briscoe, “a CTO needs to listen to their customers about what they actually want, instead of getting swept along with what the industry tells them they need.”

Within the cloud industry, “a successful CTO will also have an open mind about the capabilities of each Cloud Provider and honestly evaluate each of them based on merit. By removing any biases, you can create a best-of-breed product that can always be developed and improved,” he continues.

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“Cloud changes at an unprecedented rate, so you must be willing to accept that everyone has their own experience of cloud and you can never know it all. A good CTO also doesn’t overcomplicate, they must look for ways of doing simple things better, as they are often the most important aspects of a project.”

Keeping up to speed

Trying to keep up to speed with the services offered in both cloud services and programmable network can be a significant challenge for Briscoe.

The cloud market is expanding, with more services being offered every day, and keeping up with this evaluation and creation of good use cases is very difficult, suggests Briscoe.

“There are myriad of options that closely overlap, so trying to find the right types of network partners with the same ethos and vision is a constant struggle,” he says.

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Detaching from technology

According to Briscoe, perhaps unsurprisingly,  we’ll see the role of CTO in the enterprise become increasingly detached from the ‘technology’, and more business-orientated “as a result of the reduced emphasis on the technology roadmap, strategic vision and product selection in their role.”

“However, this could raise issues. CTOs in enterprise now have a larger service catalogue at their disposal than ever before, and trying to ensure stability, scalability and fit-for-purpose offerings for the next technology cycles is getting muddied due to the overwhelming influx of similar offerings by the large players.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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