The CTO title has a dual personality. On the one hand, it describes a high-level technical position within an IT department or IT vendor firm. On the other, it’s a title used for senior-level researchers.

It’s no surprise that CTOs in IT departments work closely with CIOs, other IT managers and even rank-and-file tech workers. But the same is true for CTOs who work in research.

As CTO and president of the Innovation Group at Xerox, Sophie Vandebroek oversees about 600 chemists, engineers and material scientists who develop products and services to sell to customers. She turns to external CIOs for inspiration and ideas. She also collaborates with Xerox’s own CIO to make sure that new products can be used by Xerox’s customers and that those customers have the IT infrastructure to support the products.

Ray O. Johnson, CTO at Lockheed Martin Corp. in Bethesda, Md., sees a similar need for collaboration with the CIO at his company. “The CTO and the CIO work very closely together so our internal and external efforts are aligned,” says Johnson, who is a peer to Lockheed Martin’s CIO. The partnership between the two positions is becoming more and more important, he says, because IT is playing an increasingly critical role in research and innovations of all kinds.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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