While most small- to medium-sized businesses thirst for strategic leadership when it comes to their current technology needs and how to plan for the future, most also cannot afford a full-time Chief Information Officer (CIO).

This is one of the “yin and yang” forces of being small or mid-sized.  While you might be able turn your ship around faster and innovate against a large employee competitor, they may have the scale and dollars to have a true, strategic leader at the table and leading their technology team. The organization just doesn’t have enough people or bandwidth to accomplish what they want to accomplish. The people they have do not have the right skills to accomplish what they want to accomplish. They might want to upgrade their systems, move to the Cloud or tackle any other IT issue, but lack the capacity or capability to make it happen. Bringing in an outside expert on a part-time basis is the shortest path to reaching their goals.

In this already huge and growing digital transformation that is happing around all of us, practically every company leader knows that technology strategy plays a crucial role is staying competitive and increasing profitability. The answer for more and more businesses is hiring a fractional and/or virtual CIO.

There are several reasons why hiring a R-CIO makes sense for your business.

The main reason is to help you plan for the future. The right expert will have their finger on the pulse of how to keep IT systems and processes in alignment for your growth while you continue to measure how sales, administration, and finance are functioning. They will also help stay in tune to what is happening in your market as it relates to IT and the Internet of Things (IoT).

While rates for a fractional CIO vary, an important thing to keep in mind is that because a fractional CIO is a 1099 contractor, this is a variable cost versus the fixed costs of having an employee. There are no benefits, overhead or tax issues to factor into the equation. You can figure out what you can afford, and then look at how much help you can get for that budget.

“Having held fractional roles via River Run’s R-CIO program in recent years, I’ve found that clients that have a disconnect between IT and the business are usually better served by bringing in an outside resource as a catalyst to close the gap. While this can be in the form of a CIO, many transformational CIOs aren’t content to just run the department once the transformation is complete. Rather than search for another one, it may be better to have an R-CIO help you find and develop a manager or coach an incumbent to grow into the eventual replacement. Having a coached manager that can lean on River Run for managed services after a fractional CIO has helped “transform” and complete the assignment is an excellent option both in investment savings and results.” - Bob Marx, CIO at River Run.


Similar to models with an outsourced CFO, COO or CMO; a R-CIO is ideal for organizations wanting the advantages of a dedicated, unbiased, C-level technology executive without the complications and cost of a full-time hire.  River Run helps you elevate IT from a dark server room to the bright light of the board room as an integral part of your overall strategy. R-CIO responsibilities can include technology assessments, C-Level strategic support, direction for existing staff, vendor management and comprehensive technology risk management, and since you control the calendar, it can be interim or project-based.

R-CIOs seek a true partnership and engagement with your executive team on equal footing, to make IT management proactive rather than reactive. Your R-CIO helps bridge your IT leadership gap by:

  • Management of IT staff and vendors, including applications and infrastructure
  • Strategic technology planning aligned to business objectives
  • Real-time risk assessments and frameworks for proper governance and safety
  • Technology due diligence and acquisition integration
  • Objective and expert analysis of services and hardware for the best prices
  • Evaluation and monitoring of processes, metrics and team members
  • Regular IT reviews and recommendations

Optimal results can only be achieved when a company aligns its business strategy with its technology strategy.  Rather than merely being technology consultants, our competent R-CIOs have equal parts technology awareness and business acumen.  They are also not single-shingle artists that may be doing independent work because they don’t play well with others. And, since they are on the River Run team, they have a group of over 60 employees that support them with over 400 years of combined knowledge in solving the technology issues for over 800 clients.

Working with a River Run R-CIO means enjoying his or her unique ability to scope out appropriate opportunities for business improvement that will increase optimization and automation, becoming the beneficiary of measurable cost savings and increased improved process efficiency.




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