The 5 Traits of Highly Effective Outsourced CIOs


an outsourced CIO that is considered highly effectiveWhen an organization decides to outsource its Chief Information Officer (CIO), it’s important to select someone who will become a true partner, focused on achieving business goals that strengthen the organization as a whole. Bringing in an outsourced CIO is very different than working with an outsourced vendor like a managed service provider (MSP) for everyday IT troubleshooting and network management. Both can bring significant value and efficiency to an organization but in different ways.

What To Look For In A CIO

Many organizations that engage an outsourced CIO have never had a C-Level IT leader on their executive team. Often, they recognize that while they may not need a full-time CIO, or can’t afford one, they can’t afford to be without an unbiased, senior IT leader to help them make sound decisions in the critical area of IT. CIOs are senior executives who are skilled at integrating technology into overall business strategies.

Every organization is unique, but an outsourced CIO with the following five traits can make all the difference between failure and success.

1. Business-Minded

Gone are the days, if they ever existed in the first place, when CIOs could tackle IT in a silo. CIOs in all industries are responsible for a wide variety of corporate tasks within modern organizations. Since business and technology go hand-in-hand, the strongest CIOs have business backgrounds and truly function as a part of the executive leadership team. Seeing how IT fits into the larger organizational picture is key, and outsourced CIOs can provide an unbiased perspective when implementing and improving processes to correct ongoing inefficiencies and strategize for the future.

2. Experienced

a note that says "CIO" on it representing CIO outsourcingNothing is a substitute for experience when it comes to IT leadership. An outsourced CIO can offer tailored, unbiased advice to employees based on their own experience, both in and outside of the industry, all in the interest of strengthening the IT department and the organization as a whole. An outsourced CIO can also mentor IT managers and other staff to grow both their technical skills and business acumen, and create a stronger partnership between the business and IT.

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3. Industry-Focused

CIOs have defined skill sets and are technically proficient, but challenges and possible solutions vary greatly depending on industry. For example, healthcare companies and construction firms will have very different approaches to technology and cybersecurity, due to both culture and legal requirements. A strong, outsourced CIO that truly understands the organization’s industry can bring deep insight and specific expertise, as well as a passion for the industry and desire to keep learning more to support the overall business goals.

4. Flexible

The ability to adapt to change at a moment’s notice is a necessity in today’s world. Circumstances can and will change, and an outsourced CIO with a history of shifting gears adroitly when circumstances dictate can make all the difference in a difficult time. Business leaders need a fellow executive who will work with them to effectively navigate turbulence with a constantly forward-looking outlook that focuses on the organization and its evolving needs.

5. Collaborative

The best CIOs work well with others throughout the organization. This can mean collaborating with you to mentor your rising IT stars, working with different department executives, such as human resources and marketing, to best integrate technology into their particular niche, or working with senior leaders and the board to integrate IT into the overall business strategy.

Putting It All Together

a handshake between a new CIO and the owner of a companyPut these traits together and you’ll have an outsourced CIO that is well suited to work effectively and achieve business goals.

Hartman Executive Advisors provides a wide array of IT leadership solutions to companies and not-for-profit organizations. When you engage a Hartman CIO, you will augment your own internal capabilities, benefit from our specialized skills and experience and build the capability to eventually transfer that knowledge to rising leaders within your organization.

To learn more or to schedule a no-cost consultation, contact us today.


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