Fractional CIO: What are they?

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As the new dawn of the business world arises, the things you know are able to provide a safe passageway towards the world of success have changed a lot. Today the once known tips and tricks that could have brought a winner out for you might not work as effectively as they were once. 

So, you may ask what could be the solution then? 

 To lead the business of the future, you need to implement the changes of the future and embrace the new ways of dealing with the ever-evolving landscape of business especially when it comes to fulfilling the leadership positions. These can effect how your business can progress, especially if you are just starting out and only a novice about how the whole business setup work, and what are those resources that are necessary in order to stand out among all the others. 

The first thing which is very important for any company is the right kind of leadership. And as there is a saying that in today’s tech savvy world information is a very important tool when you wish to stay at the top. That is where CIO’s come in. 

As an in charge of your whole system, from designing to execution, a Chief information officer helps businesses align with their information processing systems. Because it is the backbone of any industry nowadays that wishes to expand its business and achieve its success goals faster.

Fractional CIO

What does a fractional CIO do? 

As we know today having a good IT team behind your brand means you have already gotten more than half the resources needed there to get you started on the right path. But you also need a good leader to bring that team together. You do need not to have a full-time hire for the role, and at the same time, you can get benefited from having the knowledge and power of having a seasoned executive by your side. 

Fractional CIO services are one way of getting a fractional executive on board your team, that will pair you with the best executives that would resonate with your goals for development. Now this can be beneficial to startups, to the small to medium business who wishes to align with the IT strategy to their entire business scenario. 

A fractional CIO, which can also be available as a Virtual CIO service, is useful where expert guidance is needed to set up the system, maintain it, or just upgrade it so that it can provide a constant upgradation that draws traction to your business constantly so that you can focus on fulfilling the goals you have set up for an organization.

fractional CIO Services

What is the difference between a traditional CIO and a fractional CIO? 

There in not many but some key differences in between a fractional CIO and a traditional CIO, that is mainly due to the nature of the services and the terms of their engagement. Here are a few key differences between the two of them. 

  1. Engagement Model: 
  • Traditional CIO, are involved with a full-time working model, they are permanent employees of the company. 
  • Fractional CIO: They are often working part-time, or on a project basis, and are not a permanent part of your team. They can work on a contractual basis and often hired as fractional CIO services. 

2. Cost structure: 

  • Traditional CIO: The position is fixed, so you need to also consider other benefits you have to give like incentives, bonuses, or maybe stalk options among other things. 
  • Fractional CIO: They are more flexible in terms of payment, as they are hired on a contractual basis. So, it provides more flexibility in terms of cost, so that you can manage it more efficiently. 

3. Scope of responsibility: 

  • Traditional CIO: They are often the one man in charge of everything that is going on within the department and outside of it, including the budget, strategies and employees. 
  • Fractional CIO: They are more focused on the specific roles within the department that are assigned to them. So, they can focus on one problem at a time and solve them effectively. 

4. Expertise and specializations: 

  • Traditional CIO: A Traditional CIO as a full-time hire is required to be knowledgeable about all the specializations of IT, and have good expertise around the strategies involved and be able to manage it. 
  • Fractional CIO: As they are hired as virtual CIO services, they can be hired according to what needed to be done at the moment. Like hiring specifically to develop security networks, cloud computing or IT governance. 

5. Time commitments: 

  • Traditional CIO: They are often expected to be available for full-time and often go beyond their general work hour to complete all the responsibilities assigned to them. 
  • Fractional CIO: They work part-time, or on a project basis, so they work with multiple clients at a time, for flexible work hours, which means they get more flexibility to choose when to work and how much to work. 

6. Risk and liability: 

  • Traditional CEO: The risk associated with a full-time hire is always more than executives hired through fractional CIO services, involved full-time with organized IT operations and strategies. 
  • Fractional CEO:  The amount of risk and liability would be low compared to a traditional CIO as they are not working full times, and it can be associated only to the terms of the contract and the scope of their responsibility. 

7. Flexibility and Scalability:

  • Traditional CIO: As a traditional CIO, a person is habituated to following a pattern while working for a company. So, with the changing norms, it might be very difficult for the executive to be flexible and adapt to those norms faster. 
  • Fractional CIO: As a fractional CIO is already habituated to offering virtual CIO services, they are more and more comfortable with flexibility and adaptability when it comes to the ever-changing norms of the business world. So they can adjust to the level of support required on the basis of the projects that are assigned to them. 

8. Integration with the company culture: 

  • Traditional CIO: As a long-term employee of the company, they understand the work environment and the company’s work culture better. Because they would be deeply invested in that culture. Also, they would also be involved in having higher terms of stakes in their business. 
  • Fractional CIO: They would have less intimate knowledge about the company’s work environment. However, they can integrate themselves within the company’s work culture and still can provide the valuable insight that will help it grow. 

9. Speed of implementation of the changes: 

  • Traditional CIO: As a part of the company, a traditional CIO, has to follow the necessary chain of command when they are ready to implement their newly driven policies they have to face the bureaucratic hurdles, and also the internal processes that can slow down the implementation of the initiatives.   
  • Fractional CIO: As they work outside this organization’s chain of command, free of every other bureaucratic hurdle doesn’t apply, so they are quick to focus on the given task and implement policies faster. 

10. Access to the resources: 

  • Traditional CIO: As a part of the company, they have access to resources provided by the company which will help them take initiatives and implement them accordingly easier. 
  • Fractional CIO: As they are hired through the fractional CIO services, they are only allowed to use the resources that are provided to them by the means of the company they are working for on a contractual basis. But on the other hand, as they work with more than one client at a time that means, they can bring missing resources to the table using their powerful network. 

How do fractional CIO services work? 

As we know every client has a different vision for their own venture, the first step of providing fractional CIO services, or the virtual CIO service is diagnosing the problem. So, when someone first reaches out to us seeking fractional CIO, we take the first step by talking and discussing the nature of the problem the client can have for themselves. 

The second step after identifying the specific problem is to devise a solution for it. By taking the initiative of road mapping the entire scenario of the problem, we can plan what are the strategies the client would need.  According to this now, we begin creating the right solution, bringing up the right resources and yes, the right fractional executives that have the correct skills your organization is looking for. 

Once, we have sought the solution of the problem, the next step is to develop a general strategy that will implement and optimize the day-to-day work scenario. So, we not only develop a foolproof strategy but we also make sure that it is integrated into the already established departments and teams and make them ready for the future. 

Last but not least as we are availing fractional CIO through the involvement of fractional CIO services, we also ensure that implementing, new projects, that are according to the trends of the industry, and ensure that you always remain updated about the numerous developments that are taking place in the industry, so that you can scale faster and meet your business goal faster. 

Who can become a fractional CIO? 

As the world of technology progresses, so does our reliance on technology to keep our business on track. But since, it is a very tech oriented time, to stay ahead of your competition you too need to be evolve  constantly in the matters of how you use technology as your partner. If you do not have an expert on your team, you will be saying goodbye soon enough to the race to the top and will lag behind unable to catch up again with the competition. 

But hiring a fractional CIO, and seeking virtual CIO services can be a painful process, so is working as a fractional CIO. As the virtual CIO salary can be on a contractual basis, as you hire them for specific projects, it is also good to know how one can become a fractional CIO, so that you know if you have the right fractional executive on board. 

Some of the characteristics that you need to become a fractional CIO are: 

  1. If you considering becoming a fractional CIO, the first thing that you need is to have a strong technical background. That means one should be aware of the workings of information technology and should have deep knowledge of its components. 
  2. You have to be a strategic thinker so that you can align your ideas with the border business objective. 
  3. One should not only possess leadership skills but also be a good communicator so that they can communicate with other departments and translate their ideas in layman’s terms so that others can understand it fully. 
  4. Should be flexible to adapt to anything that is required as per the trends of the industry apart from that they should have problem-solving skills that will help them solve the present problem on hand. 

Overall, as a fractional CIO one should have technical mastery, be quick to think on their feet, have good interpersonal skills and most important should have the commitment to deliver value to the clients.

Why should you work with a fractional CIO? 

Working with a fractional CIO have many benefits that might be a game changer for your organization, and the way you look and implement the IT solutions to your business. Some of the benefits you can look forward to when you hire virtual CIO services are: 

  1. It is cost-effective since they are hired on a contractual basis, so you do not need to pay them a continuous salary. 
  2. Fractional CIO often are hired on a project basis, so you can get the expertise as per the need of the hour requires. 
  3. Fractional CIOs are flexible in the terms of jobs and hours, this allows you to hire them as per convenience and for the term you wish to.
  4. They can scale their services, and provide you with the things your organization needs to reach its monthly goals. 
  5. They have access to the networks so that you can meet the right people, and get the right resources at the right time. 
  6. It can ultimately help you succeed by identifying vulnerable areas, strengthening them, and driving innovation into IT management so that you always stay on top of your competition.

What are the things you should keep in mind while hiring fractional CIO services? 

There are a few factors you need to consider while hiring a fractional CIO for your organization so that you find your right fit quickly without a hassle. 

  1. Define your needs clearly, so the company providing you with fractional CIO services, understands what kind of service you are in need of. 
  2. Check for experience, ask about previous work, and learn about the educational background of the potential CIO. 
  3. Always ask for references and testimonials from previous clients. So, that you know they are the right person to be hired.
  4. Before hiring the fractional CIO you should focus on seeing if the person is fit for the work environment, if they understand the work culture of your venture and whether they will be able to integrate into it. 
  5. Define the terms of the agreement very clearly, the duration, the roles, and the responsibility and also define the virtual CIO salary you are willing to pay to them for the project. 
  6. Last but not least discuss your exit strategy that how they will be transitioning the role at the end of the engagement period. And what are they planning to do at the end of the term whether to train someone at their place, or transfer the role to another accordingly? 

By keeping these points in mind, you can always hire the best fit for your organization and get benefited from having an expert on your team and bring success faster to your organization. 

 Having a fractional CIO in your organization is a game changer, it can drive success, and bring forth the expert minds that will again push the innovation to your venture, making it reach new heights of success and also become known as one of the leaders in the entire industry. All you have to do is hire the right CIO that fits your ideas and visions by availing of the fractional CIO services.

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