The correlation between success and how well a business has aligned its objectives and long-term plans with technology strategies is clear. As a result, most large corporations choose to employ a permanent chief information officer (CIO) at the very least and often an entire internal information technology (IT) team. As even small businesses grow to realize the importance of employing a technological strategy, however, filling the role of CIO has become more important to even the most modestly staffed startups, some of whose budgets hardly allow for staffing the position. For these companies, as well as larger operations whose needs for developing technology strategies are short-term, project-based or otherwise occasional, a new solution has emerged: a fractional CIO. This person, who can work part-time, full-time or on a project or interim basis, allows a business to enjoy the direction and expertise of a C-level executive in the technology field while taking up only a fraction of the payroll budget that a permanent full-time CIO would require. For many businesses, especially those with no real need for a permanent CIO and limited funds for superfluous hires, the fractional CIO is a godsend. For those still not certain whether a fractional CIO is called for, below are 5 benefits the model has to offer.
1. IT Direction:
An experienced CIO understands how to ease information risk while still helping the company gain as much as possible for every dollar spent in order to achieve business goals. The phases of change and growth that a company goes through that make the business vulnerable to risk are many, from periods of rapid change and growth to mergers and acquisitions. During these times, a fractional CIO can act as a consultant, providing real-time information risk assessments and putting in place the framework for technology governance and control to help keep the company safe.
A fractional CIO allows both the business and the C-level technology expert to remain independent of one another. This puts the CIO in the unique position of objectively analyzing services, hardware and software in order to help the business get the most value out of every technology dollar spent. The company can then make the most of this expertise without committing to the expense and responsibilities that come with adding another employee to the operation.
3. Change Agent:
By far the best thing a fractional CIO has to offer is that he or she is still a CIO! This person can benefit the productivity of nearly any business immensely, with all senses on alert for the most innovative technology. This gives businesses the opportunity to increase rates of information capture and to improve intelligence. Together with the effective business strategy that a company already comes to the table with, the result is change opportunities that benefit the now and the later.
4. Financial Responsibility:
The truth is that every business stands to benefit from capable technology direction and a solid technology strategy. For many businesses, however, especially those aiming to follow a low-debt or no-debt model, it is hard to marry this need with the goal of remaining financially responsible. Utilizing a fractional CIO in lieu of a permanent internal technology team provides a real solution. The cost of such a consultant is generally only a fraction of the cost of a permanent hire, a cost which is dwarfed by the incremental benefits that come when technology solutions and business strategy are aligned. Whatever the needs of a business, whether part-time or temporary, a fractional CIO can fill the gap.
5. Business Process Optimization:
Optimal results can only be achieved when a company aligns its business strategy with its technology strategy. Rather than merely being technology consultants with blinders on, a competent CIO has equal parts technology awareness and business acumen. Working with a fractional CIO means enjoying his or her unique ability to scope out appropriate opportunities for business improvement that will increase optimization and automation, becoming the beneficiary of measurable cost savings and increased improved process efficiency.
To talk more about how to benefit from the services of a fractional CIO, whether to provide a solution to an immediate need or to provide direction and support through a period of change, contact us.