How the Best Fractional CIO Will Grow Your Business

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How the Best Fractional CIO Will Grow Your Business

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How the Best Fractional CIO Will Grow Your Business

A fractional CIO can help grow your business by tying your business strategy to technology and leveraging technology to deliver on your business goals.

What is a Fractional CIO?

A fractional CIO or virtual CIO (vCIO) is responsible for technology in your organization. vCIO stands for virtual chief information officer.

Looking at where are you going as an organization and how can you use technology to help you achieve your goals requires a lot of knowledge. It requires understanding both the technology and the business. They need a deep understanding of both. It’s not a role that is strictly technical or strictly business-oriented.

What’s Possible with a Fractional CIO?

One of the biggest things we see with our clients and the work we do on the vCIO side is that people just don’t know what’s possible. Part of our job is to show them what’s possible and help them execute on the strategies that we provide.

The difference between a contracted IT person and a fractional CIO is the focus on the business versus the technology. The fractional CIO or virtual CIO is really focused on business operations and outcomes. They’re looking for ways to leverage technology that will achieve a specific business result.

Typically, an outsourced IT contractor is narrowly focused on technology. After a plan is put in place, for example, you might bring in a contractor to execute the plan and implement some systems. The vCIO, in contrast, is focused on the business.

Fractional CIO Services for Small Businesses

CopperTree assigns a vCIO to each client to manage outcomes and take ownership of the IT experience. They take ownership of IT results. They’re driving the strategy and the execution.

Again, we’re not just looking at technology, we’re looking at ways to leverage technology that will help you achieve your business goals, whatever those might be.

Even a small business can benefit from vCIO services. In fact, smaller organizations can compete more effectively with larger organizations today by leveraging technology. Lots of people, however, just don’t know what’s possible with modern IT services.

Opportunity & Oversight

Our vCIOs also talk to business people to find ways that technology can make them more competitive in their fields. Some might see that as overkill for a smaller organization, but it’s not an expensive service. If you work with somebody that understands your business, they can provide good direction and generate good outcomes.

The fractional CIO also provides oversight to the rest of the technical team. They take responsibility for execution as the link between the technical team and the end-users.

That said, your vCIO isn’t usually in the server room plugging in cables with rolled-up sleeves. They’re working to understand the business processes and taking that back to the technical team to guide the direction of the technical development.

Vendor Management

Vendor management is another of the fractional CIO services that we offer. In this case, vendor management includes working with the vendors that you might buy software and services from, from printer vendors to software application vendors.

The vCIO’s job is to get them all pointed and executing in the same direction. The last thing you want is to have several vendors that are pointing fingers at each other. Or worse, somebody saying that it’s working on their end and that you have to figure it out on your own. Now, the vCIO is responsible regardless of whose issue it is.

Unbiased Recommendations

If you contact CopperTree, we’ll sure that all the vendors are delivering. Our services’ primary focus, and the vCIO’s in particular, is to deliver unbiased recommendations. We aren’t invested in a specific piece of technology or vendor when we’re getting you to where you’re going. We look at what your organization needs, and the best solution to meet those needs, and how to get the result that you need as an organization.

CopperTree does have a professional services arm that does some implementations, but we’re not really tied to any specific technology. That said, if there’s something that we don’t particularly do well ourselves, we have a wide range of partners and contractors that we trust with implementations. But we’re really focused on big-picture objectives with this service. In other words, what is the best solution for the job at hand?

What to Look for in a Fractional CIO

Your vCIO should have strong executive experience and a background in technology. Effective vCIOs understand the available technology. They know how it works, but more importantly, they should be well-versed in business from an executive perspective.

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He or she should be able to sit at the table with your board or executive team and show them, from a high level, how they can use technology in their organization to drive better results. Most importantly, a fractional CIO should provide a strategy that uses technology in ways that the rest of the team hadn’t thought of — or didn’t know was possible.

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