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 cannot afford a full-time Chief Information Officer (CIO). As companies have been strategizing what their in-person or WFA (Work From Anywhere) org chart will be, many are looking at how to properly staff IT and if fractional or virtual leadership may be the right answer. 

This is one of the “yangs” to the “yings” of being small and mid-sized. While you might be able to turn your ship around faster and innovate against a large employee competitor, they have the scale and dollars to have a true, strategic leader at the table and leading their technology team. A smaller organization just does not 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 age of rapid digital transformation that is happening around all of us, practically every company leader knows that technology strategy plays a crucial role in 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 an 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 you stay in tune with what is happening in your market as it relates to IT and the Internet of Things (IoT). 

An important thing to keep in mind is that because a fractional CIO is not your 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. The cost of the investment weighed against efficiency and savings should help make the decision an easy one for you. 

“Having held several CIO roles, I have found that there are often times a disconnect between IT and the business. Bringing in an outside resource as a catalyst to close the gap, provide additional direction, guidance, or validation of the direction of IT can prove valuable. Some transformational CIOs are not 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 IT leader 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.”   – Terrie Beede, CIO Advisor at River Run 

Similar to models with an outsourced CFO, COO, or CMO, an 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 boardroom 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 cybersecurity 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 
  • Overall security and cybersecurity strategy and processes 
  • 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. And, since they are on the River Run team, they harness and draw from the power of a large organization still committed to a personalized touch. 

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 increase improved process efficiency. 



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