A traditional, common corporate structure is built so that a CIO and/or a CTO oversees the corporate growth and smooths out the challenges of workplace technology. Now that the cloud is here, and now that in-house roles and operations can be outsourced, will CIOs and CTOs become obsolete?

Could technological advances result in there being more managers and vendors–less corporate hierarchy?

The simple answer is no. Although change in roles at all levels is inevitable, the need for a technology leader is still a requirement, even more so than ever. Someone must make executive-level decisions to ensure growth and to minimize redundancies.

But cloud computing will change the role of CIOs and CTOs. To understand the potential of this evolution, it makes sense to look at the history of CIOs and CTOs.

Previously, the role of CIOs and CTOs meant deciding with minimal input which applications were best suited to the current business model, and then they directed the IT department to deploy them. Users had little to no voice during the selection process.

However, with a cloud deployment, technology leaders, the IT department, and end-users all work together to indicate their needs and wants, what is possible, and, in the end, what will be. There now is much greater collaboration among all stakeholders to ensure that the best solution is available. For CIOs and CTOs, equal parts knowledge, business sense, quick response, and listening skills are required in their ever-changing role.

On the heels of this extensive collaboration is trust. Technology leaders must place greater trust in their employees, because the information that these leaders receive will be a driving force in the final decisions that they make. The days of purely giving orders are gone.

Additionally, CIOs, CTOs, and other technology leaders must be open to constant and dynamic change if they and their business strategies will succeed. This means a greater understanding of market forces, of current and upcoming technologies, of user needs, and of sensitive business data. No longer are CIOs and CTOs accepted as relevant mainly due to their title. Like all employees in a business, they too must demonstrate their relevance in the face of constant change and increased competition from all avenues.

Creativity is now another key component of successful CIOs and CTOs. They need to understand and combine technological changes with competing business demands into a succinct, synchronized, and synergistic solution that satisfies the needs of clients, vendors, internal users, as well as security policies. This is not an easy task, but those who fail to achieve it will be left behind.

The need for traditional services will always exist, but how those services are delivered will change. Recognizing new technologies such as cloud computing and remaining flexible while addressing the processes of an organization can be complex, but, for technology leaders, these are job requirements that predict the viability of a business– and themselves.