Hiring a Fractional CIO vs a Full-Time CIO

December 10, 2019 0 Comments
fractional CIO vs full time CIO

What’s the difference between a fractional CIO vs a full time CIO?

They are both technology leaders for businesses. And as we know well, technology is used extensively in today’s business environment. In fact, it plays a role in just about every aspect of most businesses. It’s how we store information, how we communicate, and how we sell products.

Managing technology efficiently with expert knowledge is something the most successful businesses do, and it’s important to consider how your business handles this aspect of business management.

We’ve looked before at the difference between a director of IT and a CIO, as well as what makes a CIO different from a CTO.

However, in our next few posts, we’ll discuss more options. There are a few other technology management roles you can fill within your company, and they’re all slightly different.

Today, we’ll look at the position of Fractional CIO specifically.


CIO Services

The CIO position is one of the most important in a company — we’ll quickly recap the associated responsibilities.

The CIO is the head of the IT department and works closely with the CEO. They are responsible for helping with strategic decisions regarding the technology the company uses. This means that it’s essential for a CIO to have both technical skills as well as business leadership skills.

Other duties the CIO performs include upgrading information systems, planning budgets, and finding strategic technology partners.


Can the CEO Be a CIO?

It’s not uncommon for small business owners to try and do it all, especially when their business is in the initial stages of growth. But this approach is only manageable for so long. As a business grows, the number of responsibilities grows along with it. This can quickly overwhelm a business owner trying to take care of everything themself.

This is what often makes hiring a CIO necessary: there’s simply too much to be done without a dedicated professional. Also, the level of expertise required rises as your business’s technology needs become more complex. The only way to make sure your business is in the right hands is to seek out professional CIO services.


Fractional CIO

What if your business isn’t ready for a full-time CIO, or can’t afford to put one on the payroll? The solution to this problem is hiring and consulting a Fractional CIO.

A Fractional CIO is someone who performs the function of a CIO in a part-time or contracted capacity with a company. For example, they’ll make sure that the company’s technology systems are working as well as possible and are aligned with business objectives. Fractional CIO services are also especially useful when a business is working to meet an IT deadline.


Benefits of Hiring a Fractional CIO

IT Security

Experienced CIOs are skilled at minimizing the risks associated with information systems as well as helping your business get the highest ROI it can on technology investments.

There are many phases businesses go through where this is especially useful. Rapid growth, innovation, and mergers and acquisitions are some examples. In all of these instances, an experienced CIO will be able to provide risk assessments that will keep your business safe. They’ll also make sure you’re using the most effective technology available.

Best of all, a Fractional CIO also has this insight, at less cost to the company.

Business Optimization

As we mentioned above, the most qualified CIOs have a wealth of experience in both IT and business operations. You may already employ a director of IT, but this is one area in which CIO services are what you really need.

By using extensive knowledge of both technology and business processes, a Fractional CIO can help you develop technology systems that make your business operations more efficient. This will increase your productivity as well as lower cost.

Catalyst for Change

Is it time for your business to take the next step, but you’re not sure what it is? Hiring a Fractional CIO can often solve this problem. By providing objective insight backed with expert knowledge, a Fractional CIO can light the way.

Sometimes it just takes an outside perspective to make clear judgments on how to best move forward. Other times the decision-makers in your business just have too much on their plate. In either case, outsourcing CIO services can get your business on the right track.

Get Ahead of the Competition

It’s vital for growing small and medium-sized businesses to get any edge on the competition that they can. Making innovations in your industry is a sure way to outperform your competitors, and it’s something a Fractional CIO can help with.

A Fractional CIO can help your business be the first in your industry to employ new technologies and IT strategies; it’s their job to stay aware of the latest technology developments. These innovations will develop your reputation as a leader in your industry as well as improve the efficiency of your business operations.

Save Time and Money

It’s obvious that hiring a Fractional CIO is less expensive than hiring a full-time CIO, but it can also be cheaper than hiring no CIO at all.

All businesses need a solid technology strategy and strong leadership in their IT department. Hiring a Fractional CIO means you’ll have someone working to align your IT solutions and business strategy. The cost-savings that this alignment provides can be massive. It will also make your business run more efficiently, saving time.


Probably the biggest benefit of using a Fractional CIO is the level of flexibility it provides. In addition to not being able to afford a full-time CIO, many growing businesses simply don’t need full-time CIO services. This makes the Fractional CIO the perfect solution.

Fractional CIOs can work for your company on a part-time or per-project basis. This ensures that their time spent working with you is well-directed and efficient. In short, you get the best bang for your buck. Don’t pay for a full-time CIO if you don’t need one.


What Matters: Fractional CIO vs Full Time CIO

The only difference between a fractional and full-time CIO is the time spent at the office. Both will provide the level of technical expertise and executive leadership skills your company needs to grow.

In other words, a Fractional CIO offers the unique benefits a CIO can offer at a fraction of the price. Whether your business isn’t ready to afford a full-time CIO or simply doesn’t require one to work 40 hours a week, Fractional CIO services might be the answer.


We Help Lead Your Company into the Future

Contact us here: our team of professionals have decades of experience working in technology executive roles and are well-equipped to coach and mentor leaders across multiple industries. We offer fractional CIO resources and our Surge CIO™ or Gap CIO™ solutions as well.


Image Attribution

Article Name
Hiring a Fractional CIO vs a Full-Time CIO
How do you know if your business needs a Fractional CIO vs a full time CIO? Read about what defines their roles and which position to fill is best for you.

Stay tuned into the pulse of today’s leadership with tools and resources in the technology space with our newsletter.