For small to mid-sized businesses, there’s usually one person at the helm of the ship. Whether it’s a manager, a CEO, or some other kind of business leader, this person is usually overloaded with responsibilities. Unlike large enterprises, smaller businesses don’t have the capital to hire a designated professional for every operational requirement. This means that business leaders are tasked with staying on top of everything themselves – from sales to technology.

However, because IT plays such a crucial role in optimizing business processes, at a certain point business leaders need to call in back-up from an IT expert. The good news? Small to mid-sized businesses have the option of hiring a part-time IT expert to drive optimization without having to pay a full-time CIO salary. Read on for the inside scoop.

First Things First: What is a Fractional CIO?

As mentioned, large-scale enterprises have dedicated in-house professionals that handle their field of specialization. When it comes to IT, these in-house professionals are often called Chief Information Officers (CIOs). CIO’s are responsible for all things IT – including everything from dynamic security solutions, optimization strategies, and forward-thinking innovation.

However, as we said, smaller businesses don’t necessarily have the financial or operational means to support a full-time CIO. That’s why, many smaller organizations are choosing to invest in a fractional CIO. A fractional CIO holds all the same responsibilities as an in-house CIO – they just apply their expertise on a more casual or part-time basis, and usually for a fixed rate.

This way, small-to-mid-sized businesses – in all industries – are able to take advantage of all the strategic business benefits of working with a CIO without dedicating huge amounts of financial resources to the job. What’s not to love? Your business gets to take advantage of the digital transformation that is revolutionizing the business space, but you don’t have to go into the red to stay current.

Everything You Need to Know About the Business Benefits of Fractional CIOs

So you’re probably wondering – a fractional CIO sounds great, but how do I go about hiring one? And, what are the true benefits of investing in a fractional CIO? We hear you. Before making the decision to outsource the management and optimization of your company IT, you need to know the 411.

The fact of the matter is, fractional CIO arrangements are becoming more common than ever before. It’s becoming more common for managed IT service providers to provide fractional CIO services and some providers specialize in CIO services exclusively. No matter the shape or size of your business, finding a fractional CIO won’t be an uphill battle. Read on to learn a little more about why you should consider investing in a fractional CIO, what fractional CIO services look like, and how much fractional CIO services cost.

  • Why should you invest in a fractional CIO?

The reasons to consider working with a fractional CIO truly are endless. However, the biggest reason is all about preparing your organization for the future. You and your team are busy enough trying to get work done and chase down business opportunities. You don’t have the time or expertise to keep a constant finger on the pulse of business IT innovations.

That’s where your fractional CIO comes in. You have a dedicated professional on your team whose sole responsibility is making forward-thinking IT decisions for your organization. They’ll make strategic decisions that align your IT infrastructure, they’ll help make sure your systems are always functional and running optimally, and they’ll keep an eye on industry-specific innovations to help your organization thrive – now and in the long-run.

  • What’s the difference between a fractional CIO and standard IT support?

We should be clear about this – a fractional CIO is not the same thing as technical IT support. The idea here is that day-to-day IT support and troubleshooting is taken care of in-house or by a managed service provider. Then, your fractional CIO plays a ‘from-above’ role – making strategy decisions and offering recommendations for scalable optimization.

The reason for this distinction is that it’s difficult for a fractional CIO to be as strategic and effective as possible when they’re also taking care of managing and monitoring your IT infrastructure. When fractional CIO’s are left to focus on the big-picture, you’ll be getting the maximum value out of their services and your systems will be positioned efficiently, preventing the need for excessive technical support services.

  • How much will it cost your organization to invest in a fractional CIO?

Depending on the size of your organization and your operational needs, the cost of a fractional CIO will vary. Fractional CIO services will also vary by provider. Some providers charge by the hour and some charge a fixed monthly rate. Others will offer more all-inclusive CIO service plans.

No matter the payment model you end-up with, be sure to develop an invoicing system that offers detailed accounts of time spent and projects completed. This way, you’ll have a detailed record of how your investment is taking shape and identify exactly how your fractional CIO is changing the game for your organization.

How to Find a Reliable Fractional CIO for your Business

Hopefully we’ve answered all of your pressing questions about the details of fractional CIO services. If you’re convinced that a fractional CIO would be a good fit for your business, the only thing left for you to do is start the search for a reliable and strategic provider. As mentioned at the start, finding a fractional CIO in today’s fast-paced business IT environment won’t be difficult – but we do have some tips to ensure you find a reliable and strategic provider in the crowded market place.

First thing’s first, go into your search with a clear idea of your needs and challenges. If you have an idea of what you’re looking for from the outset, it will be much easier for you to sift through providers to find the right fit. Next, do your research – make sure you consult with different providers and get to know their approach to fractional CIO services.

Above all, these are the things you should prioritize when trying to find a fractional CIO:

  • Clear and honest communication – The right service provider will have an open conversation with you. They’ll be committed to understanding your needs and helping you understand the services they offer.
  • Flexibility & above and beyond customer service – The right service provider will be committed to customization and customer service. They’ll be flexible and work to create a fractional CIO arrangement that fits your business needs perfectly.
  • Forward-thinking strategy – The right service provider will be committed to helping your organization stay competitive and on the cutting-edge. They’ll always be a step-ahead of the game, ready to optimize your business IT for the long-haul.

If you’re looking for a team of experts who can provide the fractional CIO service experience we’ve just described, then look no further than CIO Advise. At CIO Advise, we specialize in customized CIO services for businesses of any shape or size and in any industry. No matter the level of support you require or the budget parameters you’re working within, our team can offer reliable CIO services to help your organization stay streamlined and competitive. The best part? You’ll take advantage of innovative business IT strategy without breaking the bank.

Ready to have a professional at the wheel when it comes to business IT planning and deployment? Reach out to the team of CIO professionals at CIO Advise. We will work alongside you and your team to develop a customized fractional CIO service arrangement that helps your organization thrive. Reach our team anytime at (833) 246-2387.