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Coca-Cola CTO on the changing remit of his role

As technology becomes the backbone of a brands competitive edge, Alan Boehme, Coca-Cola's CTO notes that his has to change to accommodate a changing executive table.

As the pace of technology drives innovation and invites change into each sector and industry, it’s easy to forget that roles too have been experiencing a transition.

The changing CTO role over time can be attributed to the increasing importance placed on a brand’s ability to leverage technology at a minimum pace.

This could be to improve customer’s experiences, employee satisfaction or protect against online fraud, for example.

This all means that a CTO is now a key player in brand identity; competitive advantage can be determined by the CTO’s ability to implement, iterate and scale technology.

For Alan Boehme, however, CTO of The Coca-Cola Company, the CTO role also has to “be able to fill in blank spaces.”

Those blank spaces can be found between the executive management roles – which are only increasing.

It’s common now for new roles such as chief data officer, chief digital officer and chief security officer to be created as companies search for innovative ways to streamline processes throughout a business model.

“The CTO has to interact with all of these, and in addition to being responsible to infrastructure and operations, has to operate in the white spaces [between these roles].”

That entails being able to understand the business as much as the business understands itself.

“You need to become a businessman…you need to be a strategist, to understand where the business is going and you need to be up to date on consumer trends and security.”

It’s much easier said than done, however.

The importance of a team has affected the CTO role and led to more cross-sector analysis of trends and technology support, as Boehme concludes the conversation.

“[The industry] is constantly changing and so you can’t do it all yourself: you need to partner with everybody that you possibly can.”