What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CIO?

February 17, 2021

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CIO?

As a business grows, it becomes harder for management to keep up with the day-to-day operations of sales, administration and finance. If a company has gone through a growth spurt or strategic change, heads of departments can feel overwhelmed. This includes an IT staff that suddenly has an influx of employees and clients they’re struggling to support no matter their size or expertise. An IT manager or director who formerly made the strategic IT decisions may be handling more of the day-to-day operations, but a rapidly growing business needs IT strategy more than ever.

Traditionally, a chief information officer (CIO) would be in charge of a company’s strategic IT initiatives. However, if a business is growing rapidly or is newly in need of IT strategy, leadership may feel lost trying to find the right person. A fractional CIO (fCIO) can help during such an intermediate period and give a company the IT strategy or roadmap it needs.

Why would a company hire a fractional CIO instead of a full time C-level executive? There are a few reasons.

C-level Support Only When Needed

Fractional CIOs have all the expertise of a full-time CIO without the hassle of hiring a full-time technology leader. Hiring an executive is not only costly, but time consuming as well. Even without including the time necessary to create and post a job opening, sort through resumes and interview candidates, it takes an average of six months to fully train a new management-level hire.

A fractional CIO ensures that you’re paying only for what you need. Their workload can be scaled up or down depending on present requirements, so you’re never stuck with a six-figure salary and no work to be done. With the rise of virtual CIOs and remote working, an fCIO allows companies to embrace that flexibility more than a full-time CIO as well.

Insight on Technology Roadmaps

Both traditional and fractional chief technology officers are meant to provide technology strategy to your business. Most often, a technology roadmap details this strategic plan and gives companies an idea of the technology expenses and investments they must make to achieve their business goals.

While a full-time executive would know the key business benefits experienced by companies they’ve worked for in the past, the benefits of a fCIO include working with someone who has more experience with a wider variety of different companies. The ideal business strategy for a mid-sized business is different from the right approach for smaller businesses. A fractional CIO is more experienced with these differences and this level of insight gives your strategic technology roadmap a competitive advantage.

Deeper Breadth of Industry Knowledge

Fractional CIOs have a “been there, done that” reputation in terms of cross-industry IT environments. This benefits your company by introducing a different level of strategic thinking that goes beyond what a traditional CIO might possess.

Distribution of IT Responsibilities

An additional IT leader allows for some of the strategic thinking to be taken off of the IT staff’s shoulders. When considering an fCIO, list the tasks that you would like your IT leadership team to handle. These responsibilities should align with strategic goals and the company’s technology roadmap. Examples include:

  • IT and business strategic alignment
  • IT leadership and management
  • Key performance metrics definition and reporting
  • ROI evaluation and budgeting
  • Service provider and resource management
  • IT and business risk management
  • Business process design and optimization
  • Project management
  • IT governance, security and compliance management
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity planning
  • Contract review, negotiation and management
  • Executive team advisor

Finding a fCIO who knows your business and fits within your team, company culture and vision can be a challenging task. It’s important to know the traits a good fCIO should possess, which Solvaria CEO Greg Samuels explains in the blog post What Exactly Does a Fractional CIO ‘Do’? Accountability, organization, and ability to work flexible hours are all examples of characteristics that make a great fCIO.

To learn more about what a fCIO can provide for your business, visit our How-To Guide To Using a Fractional CIO, or visit our strategic leadership solutions page.