You may have noticed recently that some small to medium-sized companies are hiring a Fractional CIO as Chief Information Officer. There’s a good reason!
You often find you need strategy and direction from a C-level executive in the tech area. But when your organization doesn’t have that executive in the senior leadership team, hiring a Fractional CIO is a great solution.
They become your business partner, coach, and advisor, and assist you in many areas, such as:
- Making technology-based decisions when and where they’re vital to your organization
- Bringing enterprise-level thinking about overall IT strategy in all departments
- Offering a consumption model of CIO services, taking the IT burden off your shoulders
But what exactly is a Fractional CIO? Let’s take a closer look.
What is a Fractional CIO?
As we mentioned, think of a Fractional CIO as a business partnership that’s here for you for a fractional part of each week or month, ongoing until you agree to part company.
They’re a C-level executive by definition. That means bringing you IT leadership expertise and providing guidance to all areas of your organization. Just not full time. (An Interim CIO, on the other hand, might be closer to full time.)
Guidance from a CIO is especially important in today’s world because
- technology is involved with – and crucial to – all aspects of your business,
- it’s hard for your business to keep on top of ever-changing technology, and
- it’s even harder to keep up with ever-evolving security threats.
But in addition, because they work at C-level, a good Fractional CIO will touch on all people, processes, and technology within your company. For example, they’ll help departments to align technology with your goals and, in some cases, suggest the best tech talent to hire for optimal outcomes.
But let’s get into specific ways this partnership can help support your business holistically.
Ways a Fractional CIO Supports Your Business
Your newly contracted Fractional CIO will, as we said, support your business with strategic leadership.
So – you should expect a good CIO operating at the C-level to:
- Learn about your company and suggest changes to your internal processes when needed.
- Advise and help change your IT infrastructure and its operations to bring benefits.
- Advise and help change your Application Portfolio to bring benefits.
- Assist in driving productivity higher and improving your ROI.
Overall, a CIO will look at your company holistically and help you make valuable changes and decisions based on your company’s goals.
So, what does this look like in real terms?
1 IT On Demand
If you don’t have the resources to set up an IT department, hiring a Fractional CIO is a good step to take. They can help create an IT department.
You may well have experience outsourcing other roles such as sales recruitment. Outsourcing a senior exec is no different – but it’s one you’ll find brings a high level of expertise to your C-suite.
The thing is, technology changes quickly, and these days it’s vital to stay ahead. Your Fractional CIO can help hire and train other IT professionals, so your company will be better equipped in the future.
And the best part is that a CIO can give you the correct IT and resources to stay afloat in a world where technology is the basis on which all your departments build their success. Think CRM, data analytics, cloud, remote desktops, etc.
2 IT Leadership and Direction
IT leadership and direction comes in many forms: ensuring your technology is state of the art, yes, but also taking advantage of new tech opportunities and seeing how they will benefit you. Think VoIP phones, moving to software-as-a-service (SaaS), etc.
With proper IT leadership and direction in place at the C-level, you can focus on other business aspects that help your company’s objectives.
Moreover, a good Fractional CIO with real-world C-level experience will
- keep your IT aligned to your business goals,
- ensure your IT gives you an edge over your competitors,
- allocate money for IT wisely,
- gauge whether you’re spending money on the right tech, and
- see which IT functions can be outsourced and which are better in-house.
In other words, operating in the C-Suite, your Fractional CIO’s leadership and direction will be robust and reliable.
3 Data Security Mentoring
Your technology infrastructure is vulnerable to cyberthreats such as
- insider threats,
- distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks,
- advanced persistent threats,
- man-in-the-middle attacks (intercepting/eavesdropping)
- viruses and more.
If this list sounds scary, that’s another reason why it’s important to have a C-level professional who can help you set up a sound method of securing your data!
You can’t afford to overlook these threats. Your Fractional CIO can assist with staff expertise, information security processes, and perhaps liaise with your managed IT solutions provider (MSP) to ensure it works best for you.
4 Strategy, Leadership, and Vision for the Future
An effective Fractional CIO strategizes, acts as a leader, and helps provide a vision for the future. Their executive experience and skills help you make important decisions and ultimately develop an effective IT plan for the future, too.
For example, a business partner of this kind can help with:
- Ensuring your technology meets your business needs, including by eliminating the technical debt of non-updated legacy systems that can be vulnerable to cyberthreats – or can no longer be supported by the vendor.
- Strategic leadership around people, processes, and technology throughout your organization
- Assisting with projects where your IT resources are scarce and time is limited
- Helping you perform technology due diligence on companies you’re acquiring, while assisting you with a post-transaction integration strategy to help you avoid surprises during your mergers and acquisitions.
Ultimately the aim is to help create a vision and tech strategy that meets your business goals.
5 Help For as Long as You Need it and No More
Hiring a Fractional CIO with years of real-world experience is a good choice when your company has no full-time CIO. They integrate as your partner from the get go.
And one of the benefits of hiring a Fractional CIO is that they’re only with you part time – for the ongoing fraction of each week or month you need them, at a “Fraction” of the cost! Once the coaching and mentoring are complete, you can both move on, job done.
CIO Suite Can Help
If any of the above struck a nerve, a Fractional CIO could be a great fit.
CIO Suite supports your business holistically. We are your IT leadership on demand!
So – if your company struggles with its technology challenges, get in touch with us and schedule a meeting.
We’ll gladly review your organization and its needs, and help you make the changes required for success. Contact us today.