Is a fractional CIO a good fit for your business?
Businesses have an endless list of needs but may not have the resources to satisfy all their needs in-house. That's why many businesses outsource crucial functions by partnering with fractional executives.
In this post, we will take a closer look fractional CIOs and the value they provide.
What is a CIO?
Investopedia defines CIO (Chief Information Officer) as:
[T]he company executive responsible for the management, implementation, and usability of information and computer technologies.
There are also CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers), who focus primarily on security. For the purposes of this article, we will refer to them collectively as CIO.
Does my business need a CIO?
Every business would benefit from a CIO. As businesses rely more on technology, effectively managing and securing that same technology becomes more critical.
While the need for a CIO is obvious, some businesses may not need or be able to afford a full-time CIO. These businesses' needs can be met with a fractional CIO.
What is a fractional CIO?
A fractional CIO is an individual who has the credentials and expertise to act as a CIO but does so on a part-time basis for multiple clients at one time.
Basically, a fractional CIO is an outsourced CIO. A fractional CIO may also be referred to as a virtual CIO (vCIO).
Outsourcing a CIO's responsibilities should not a foreign concept. Many business owners are familiar with fractional CFOs—the same logic applies to this field.
Fractional CIO services
Fractional CIO services include:
Business strategy and long-term planning.
Reviewing and improving business processes.
5 benefits of hiring a fractional CIO
1. Flexible IT solutions
Unlike hiring a full-time, in-house CIO, contracting your IT needs to a fractional CIO gives you flexible service options so you receive as much or as little assistance as your company needs. As a third party, a fractional CIO will provide greater objectivity, allowing the consultant to present you with the managed IT essentials without the pressure of internal politics.
2. The resources of a full-time CIO (without the cost)
Even though fractional CIOs are not a full-time employees, they have the means, connections, and know-how that make it possible to solve IT problems as they arise. Also, because fractional CIOs understand how your company operates, they can connect you with reliable experts who can help even if they don't possess the exact resources possible to solve a specific problem.
3. Cost reduction
A fractional CIO helps maximize the return on your IT investment by optimizing your technology to streamline business processes, ensuring your team has the right tools for the job, and making sure that you don’t overspend.
4. Clear communication
Managing IT risk is vital to protecting your company's mission-critical data. You must ensure mission-critical data is safe from a cyber attack or natural disaster. Unlike a day-to-day technician who may bog you down with complicated “tech speak”, a fractional CIO is able to convey the legitimate value of IT projects and their associated risks in plain language without sugarcoating benefits or glossing over the technical details.
5. Comprehensive consulting
Modern IT systems are complex, multi-faceted beasts that require a wide variety of expertise in order to properly manage. One of the great things about a fractional CIO is that you can often turn to these individuals for guidance through a variety of problems. A well-qualified fractional CIO will be able to provide guidance on data backup and disaster recovery plans, managed cloud services and managed security services, and even hardware/software procurement.