February 16, 2023

What a Fractional CIO brings to your business

Published on February 16, 2023 by Jennifer Leider

Picture this – you, in a leadership position, ask your development team to build you a car. They agree (and magically have finessed car-building skills) and get to work. The upside is you’ll have a car built! You asked and you shall receive! The downside is that you’re already set up for failure.  

Both parties let each other down. Leadership didn’t give its employees any big-picture feedback. The business side of things. And the development team didn’t ask any questions. There was a request and it was filled. But what kind of car was needed? What wheel drive for what type of terrain? How many people are using this car now, and will that number fluctuate down the road (pun intended)? What’s the cost? What’s the frequency of use? Is this a moon buggy or a dune buggy or a loon buggy? 

CIO leadership is not a position to be taken for granted. They know what to ask. They make those appropriate connections between the business end and the technology end of companies. They see the bigger picture and draw roadmaps for efficiency and cost-reduction.  

When might you need a fractional CIO? There are a few main scenarios we see; here are some of the top reasons why we’re pulled into a company. 


One-job wonders: 

Do you know an employee who’s grown up with the company? They may be loyal and have a deep understanding of their corner of the world. But they lack breadth of experience. It’s hard to know how to correctly size, scope, and solution a project when you’ve only been working for one company. And it’s hard to think of outside of the box solutions when you’ve only been in one box.  

Our fractional CIOs have all worked in a number of industries across a broad range of technologies. We can provide that broader, deeper breadth of knowledge that comes with time and experience.  


Power users level up: 

Some employees start as power users or begin work in a non-IT space without a lot of training. Then, with time, they move into leadership positions. Their solutions might not enable the business to the best of its ability. Leadership is its own skill; not everyone comes built knowing how steer the ship. And it's an even rarer skill to think about how the ship will need to function or change in the future.  

We think about problems in a different way, and we solve for those problems in a different way. Our fractional CIOs complete objective assessments to identify strengths and shortfalls. They create a roadmap for your company to get to an appropriate space for growth and success.  


Mentor, mentee: 

You love your newest employee. They’re young, eager, and have great new ideas. But if they were any greener, Kermit would be jealous.  

Solvaria is often brought in to provide mentorship. Youth is great, and it doesn’t have to be wasted on the young. With inexperience comes trainability. You definitely want us in your corner, coaching and guiding the way. 


Tactical brilliance:  

Your company might have the most brilliant technical minds on the planet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean success. Knowing how to do a job and strategic planning are two very different wheelhouses. Do you know a DBA or “in the weeds” employee who is a lean, mean, accomplishment machine? Would you put them in charge of leadership or strategic thinking? Do they ask the right questions? See potential issues down the road?  

Our fractional CIOs think big picture. We won’t take over, but we can offer part-time leadership. If you really want hands off, we can leave you with a roadmap and check in every few years to make adjustments.  


Objective perspective: 

Before you had a smart phone, you didn’t know you needed one. Having someone outside your bubble come in as an objective source to make your life easier – that's the dream. And having that person be easily able to convey technological concepts to business leaders, and big picture concepts to IT teams – well that’s even dreamier.  

We are platform and tool agnostic, meaning we won’t sell you on anything. Whatever your technology stack is, we’ll work within it. Our only goal is for your business to succeed. We solve problems based on our objective world of experience and your business strategy.  


So, do you really need to bring someone external onto your well-oiled team machine? It certainly helps. It’s hard to hop on Google and find solutions when you don’t know what you don’t know or don’t even know how to ask the right questions. Here’s how we alleviate the issues your company is having: 


  • Training and mentorship for employees who are new to a leadership role, or those who have only been with one company 
  • Strategic thinking – broad scale, long-term thinking that combines business and IT worlds 
  • Preventative care over band aids 
  • Objective viewpoint and agnostic creators for roadmapping 
  • We do what makes sense to you – one size doesn’t fit all, we cater differently to every client 
  • We think about problems in a different way and solve for those problems in a completely different way  
  • We suggest things that would open your business up beyond your perceived realms of possibility – you truly don’t know what you don’t know 


If you’re thinking that this couldn’t possibly pertain to your business, take a second to think about how you or any IT employees in your company would react to the following scenario: 

Leadership asks its IT team to bring in and set up an audio-visual solution for your company’s conference room. Simple, right? There should be a TV.  

If you’re in leadership, did you let the IT team know how the technology will be utilized? How many people need access? Best practices for data privacy? Did you think about ruling out certain AV technology, as in time it might become obsolete and age your business? When might you need to replace it? How will clients respond to it? Does it service what they need? 

If you’re part of the IT team, did you ask how the technology should function? Did you decide the best ways for employees to connect to the AV equipment, security, or if this opens a backdoor into your company’s data?  


There’s so much more depth to every decision in business. There are things you can’t research; solutions that fit into the overall framework of your specific business and IT environment don’t just pop up on Google.  

It’s overwhelming to not be able to control every caveat of your business. Especially when you’re in trouble mode. Lucky for you, we’re here to help. 

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