Most people do not widely understand the role of a chief technology officer (CTO), but it is one of the most crucial of all C-suite positions. CTOs are tasked with various duties in pursuit of a variety of abstract goals, which usually include driving innovation, identifying new technologies that are entering the market, and managing all IT operations.
The digital transformation has begun to redefine the role of the CTO and companies are seeking to ensure that it is in line with business priorities. This means the responsibilities of the CTO are changing drastically and being impacted by new legal regulations. As a result, it’s crucial that whatever innovation they are championing is be compliant with the law of the land.
One of the legal challenges that CTOs face is in the collection, storage, management, and protection of their clients’ information. They must prevent any kind of cyber threat using digital solutions and platforms that are legally compliant with the law.
Legal Issues That Need to Be Prioritized
Digital transformation significantly impacts IT security, regulation, data protection, and contract design. CTOs should consider the following legal issues:
- Intellectual property protection
- Data security
Intellectual Property (IP) Law
The key components of IP law that CTOs need to consider during the digital transformation are as follows:
- Trade secrets
A trademark is a distinctive name, logo, or symbol used to distinguish one product or service from another. Trademarks allow potential customers to evaluate the reputation of the manufacturer or service provider.
Original artistic works, such as music and film, are often protected by copyright. Authors have exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute copies publicly, create derivative works, and perform their work. However, to obtain the initial copyright they are entitled to under common law, the author must register their work with the relevant authority.
A trade secret refers to a legally protected piece of information that a company doesn’t wish to disclose to the public. Such secrets include:
Digital transformation carries risks that business owners and CTOs must be aware of. Digital servers and independent software developers are two examples of these risks.
CTOs should consider encryption software, train employees about the safe storage of proprietary information, and use non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to ensure that no information is leaked out.
As a result of digital transformation, companies are rethinking how they relate to and serve their customers. Many companies focus on collecting, storing, and using customer data. These murky legal waters need to be carefully traversed.
When implementing digital transformation, the concerns of CTOs should revolve around:
- Data mining and control
- Use of data for advertisement
- Data protection and compliance
Companies must clearly distinguish between personal and non-personal information to comply with data protection laws. Additionally, they should also adhere to all applicable state and industry regulations when storing user information. To ensure they are adhering to all applicable codes of conduct, a global company may want to consult with an experienced law firm.
The Evolving Role of the CTO
The high rate of advancement in technology has led to a significant transformation of the role of the chief technology officer. To perform their role effectively, the CTO must exemplify adaptability in the face of the changing technological landscape and prioritize the integration of IT strategies within the company’s brand strategy.
Consequently, a well-evolved CTO understands that their job description fits neatly within flexible parameters. What’s more, in order to help the company grow, a CTO must be willing to step outside their comfort zone. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the CTO’s role over the past two years, requiring them to operate in a state of constant evolution to ensure company survival.
How Tech Is Impacting Businesses in the UAE and Saudi Arabia
With the UAE having one of the world’s highest rates of Internet penetration, the pandemic has spurred a rise in e-commerce activity across the country. E-commerce ventures in the United Arab Emirates have more than doubled within the last two years. When it comes to cutting-edge digital transformation technologies, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are the global leaders.
As a result of Saudi Arabia’s strong IoT adoption, four technologically advanced economic cities have emerged. This has been an essential part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to diversify its economy and attract foreign direct investment.
Technological advancements have bolstered the Middle East’s economy in recent years. The government and private sector have all made significant investments in 5G, AI, IoT, blockchain, cloud computing, and cyber-security.
The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have invested heavily in artificial intelligence, positioning them at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution. It is expected that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will remain a global leader in the implementation of smart city projects thanks to big data and artificial intelligence (AI).
Consumers in the United Arab Emirates have taken notice of the growth of e-commerce in recent years. Visa and MasterCard have grown in prominence, and more than half the global population now use their cards to make purchases of all kinds. As a global consumer market, the UAE has always been a major player in the industry.
A Good CTO in the MENA Region Must Be Innovative
In the Middle East and North Africa, digital technology is changing the way businesses and governments operate. This increased use of technology is enhancing the region’s economic growth and competitiveness. As a result of the Middle East’s insatiable appetite for innovation, the region is well-positioned to take advantage of the latest digital opportunities.
CTOs must have the vision and foresight to see how new technologies can help their organizations compete more effectively in the region. Today’s top-performing CTOs can’t just sit back and watch as their competitors embrace new technologies.
With new technologies, it’s essential to keep an eye on the customer. An increasingly tech-centric, collaborative, and agile organization necessitates a shift in the role of technology leadership.
It may become challenging for Chief Technology Officers to comply with all legal requirements that arise during digital transformation, especially within the Gulf region. Just as technology changes, numerous laws are amended, and thus at times, CTOs may not be up to date with the latest legal requirements. In this case, it is crucial to work with an experienced law firm that guides you accordingly throughout your business’s growth stages.