What is a “fractional” CTO?
30 July 2021
A pre-COVID era report from Gartner revealed that investing in tech was a top business priority for executives and that 56% of CEOs shared that digital interventions had increased their bottom lines.
Yet as the pandemic continues to transform the business and working landscape, the role of technology and its importance in navigating this digital transformation has never been greater.
That’s where the role of a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) comes in. IT decision-makers will have a greater role to play in business decisions post-COVID as technology-driven strategies become the norm and CEOs look to include IT leaders in more business-level decisions.
But due to the vast experience and skill-set CTOs bring to the table, the cost of hiring a CTO full-time can be very high (minimum £120,000 salary in the UK). Yet the advantages they offer an organisation are essential. That’s why companies are now beginning to look at alternative solutions by opting for a “fractional” (or part-time) CTO.
What is a fractional CTO?
In this context, “fractional” simply means working for a business for a “fraction” of the time – for example, working one day a week.
This does not by any means mean that a fractional CTO is not as good as a full-time one. For example, at Bailey & Associates, we insist that our Associates have at least ten years of experience in a C-level role with a proven track record of success. They are psychometrically tested in order to evaluate their skills, knowledge, abilities, personal traits, and attitudes – ensuring we work with only the very best IT talent in the business.
Typically, fractional CTOs are hired by small or mid-sized enterprises who either cannot afford a full-time executive, do not have the need for a full-time IT executive, or perhaps need to bring in some external expertise for a specific project or challenge.
What is the responsibility of a CTO?
Technology is ushering in a transformation in the way we work, communicate, and collaborate. New technologies are emerging all the time, so one of the primary responsibilities of a fractional CTO will be to encourage and promote the use of current, relevant technology to improve business performance and gain a competitive advantage.
Should you choose to hire a fractional CTO, there are a few other points to consider in order to guarantee a successful engagement:
- Check your CTO has board-level experience and deep expertise.
- Choose a fractional CTO who fits, and understands your business needs.
- Your fractional CTO is part of your leadership team, so treat them like that. To be relevant and provide meaningful strategic support, they will need to be seen as a partner.
- You will likely hire a fractional CTO for a specific project or challenge…but use it as an opportunity to futureproof your business, identify opportunities for tech transformation, and set yourself apart from other businesses in the post-COVID recovery.
Looking for a fractional CTO? We can help match you with an IT leader that fits your business profile and needs. Please get in touch by scheduling a call with our Managing Director. He’ll be happy to discuss how a fractional CTO can work with your IT team to develop tech-led strategies that will give you a competitive advantage and accelerate your business’ growth.
What does a fractional CTO do?
A fractional CTO will help support or guide your IT team by focusing on specific challenges or projects. They might:
- Put together a technology strategy that aligns with your business strategy. That will include an evaluation of build vs buy vs integrate for products or platforms, internal infrastructures, frameworks, etc.
- Help you benchmark your team to identify gaps, and help you hire the right talent to fill those gaps.
- Review of your current infrastructure to identify opportunities to innovate, improve efficiency, reduce costs, all in the interests of gaining a competitive advantage in the workplace.
- Help optimise internal efficiencies to streamline work processes.
- Identify vulnerabilities in your security systems and act to secure your business from all future security risks.
- Provide strategic support on product or software development.
- Help with general IT issues negatively affecting the company in terms of either productivity or costs e.g. phones, networking, internet, cloud hosting, etc.
- Offer an external perspective and objective assessment on a tech challenge your business is currently facing.
- Provide interim support if your full-time CTO is in the process of leaving.
Should I hire a fractional CTO?
Whether you decide to hire a fractional CTO instead of full-time will depend on your specific business goals, needs, and preferences. If the capital exists, some executives prefer to have full-time executives on board to support their long-term objectives. However, that’s not to say a fractional CTO can’t support long-term business goals – without having to pay a full-time executive salary.
Knowledge and experience
Typically, fractional CTOs will have served in an executive IT role for many years and bring a broad spectrum of experience across many technologies. At Bailey & Associates, our Associates are required to have a minimum of ten years of C-level IT experience and a proven track record of success. As previously mentioned, all of our Associates are psychometrically tested.
Fractional CTOs typically work one or two days a week, meaning you’ll save a significant amount in overhead costs, including a full-time salary (minimum £120,000 per year), bonuses, equity, and any other affiliated costs with bringing on a full-time CTO.
No contracts, no risk
One of the big advantages of hiring a fractional CTO is that contracts are fixed on a monthly rolling basis. You are not tied into a long-term contract and can cancel your contract with us anytime. Whether working specifically on a short-term project for a few months or providing longer-term strategic guidance that aligns with your business goals over the course of several years, our contracts stay the same – meaning no risk for you.
How many days per month you need a CTO is entirely up to you and your IT requirements. Be it two days a month, or two days a week, a fractional CTO can work to your needs. They can start straight away, with no three or six-month periods of notice or gardening leave to accommodate for. They can also provide interim IT leadership during those three to six-month periods if you are waiting to onboard a new full-time hire, or if your current CTO is in the process of leaving.
Speak to our team
Our Associates (what we call our fractional CTOs and CIOs) have been in the IT game for a long time. They have worked across multiple industries and have deep expertise in the full spectrum of IT services – collectively, they have over 600 years of experience.
On top of that, each of our Associates is psychometrically tested to ensure that if you decide to hire a fractional CTO, we can guarantee that only the very best executive IT talent will join your team.
We’re always happy to have a no-strings, free-of-charge conversation about how one of our CTOs could help give your company a competitive advantage with a robust, technology-driven strategy that aligns with your business-specific business goals. If you’d like to discuss how we can help, please get in touch or you can read more about our services here.