When companies grow, they often find their information technology needs expand, too. The cost of hiring IT employees to support this increased demand can be daunting, so some companies turn to outsourcing to meet this need. But when mid-sized organizations grow large enough to need C-level technology leadership, many find they can benefit greatly from co-sourcing these roles.
Defining the Needs, Defining the Terms
What’s the difference between co-sourcing and outsourcing? It’s subtle, but crucial. Many companies outsource their everyday technology tasks, those tasks that “keep the lights on”, using third-party managed service providers, help desks and call centers. There are many efficiencies inherent to this approach.
Maturing companies, however, find they need much more than this type of technical support. They find value in co-sourcing the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) function to help them best integrate technology into their overall business strategies.
Co-sourcing describes a situation of partial outsourcing, in which a business function or process is performed by both internal staff and by an external party or resources with specialized knowledge of the business function.
How do you know if you need a co-sourced IT leader? Here are 10 reasons to help you decide:
- Your company is not yet large enough to need a full-time, C-level IT executive, but a part-time – or fractional – solution makes sense. Or, you might fear that an internal C-level hire would get dragged into tactical IT work, detracting from the strategic work you need them to do. In both situations, savvy companies turn to co-sourcing solutions.
- Your company has grown large enough to need a full-time, C-level IT executive, but it doesn’t have the financial resources to keep one on staff. That’s because costs include not only salary and bonus, but benefits, recruiting costs and more. When you co-source, you bring on a firm full of experienced CIOs – with their collective wisdom – at a fraction of the cost of one full-time, C-level hire.
- Your organization needs both specialized industry knowledge and technical expertise, but you can’t find senior talent that is available and affordable. A co-sourced executive brings the expertise and attributes you need to ensure IT is integrated with and contributes to business objectives.
- You’re the type of leader who wants to concentrate on what you do best and leave the rest to specialists. As Bill Joy, founder of Sun Microsystems once said, “There are always more smart people outside your company than within it.”
- You’re in a hurry. Even if you want to hire your own CIO or CISO, the process can take six months or more. What do you do in the interim? A co-sourced solution is often the answer, and you won’t have to compromise on quality during the recruiting and hiring process.
- You’re looking for philosophical alignment. Even the best hire can come with ingrained ideas or plans that don’t align with your business strategy. The right co-sourcing partner has experience working with diverse companies with strategies and visions that are flexible and scalable.
- You value different perspectives in search of best practices, competitive advantage, and IT best of breed. The right co-sourcing fit has worked with a variety of companies of different sizes in different industries with varied needs.
- Your company wants to align its IT growth and cyber maturity with corporate growth. That’s where a fractional CIO, CTO or CISO can work best, providing the amount of expertise you need when you need it.
- You need the flexibility to free up financial resources to meet other needs. A measured IT co-sourcing solution spends your corporate dollars as needed, as it can scale up or down on demand.
- Your company cannot afford to hire someone who winds up being the wrong fit. No matter how thorough the hiring process, it is not uncommon for a company to discover that their new hire is not right for the role, and then the lengthy process must start again. Co-sourcing eliminates this risk and process.
When You Need It
Ultimately, co-sourcing your CIO, CTO or CISO is a means to an end: fulfilling your business objectives and increasing your competitiveness. Having a nimble IT leader that can align technology with your organization’s objectives can pave the path to business success.
Hartman Executive Advisors provides a wide array of co-sourcing solutions to companies and not-for-profit organizations. When you engage a Hartman advisor, you will augment your own internal capabilities, benefit from our specialized skills and experience, and eventually be able to transfer that knowledge to rising leaders within your organization.
To learn more or to schedule a no-cost consultation, contact us today.