Real value of an Interim CIO is not providing IT management services (CIOaaS)

Real value of an Interim CIO is not providing IT management services (CIOaaS)

An answer to MICHAEL LEHMAN “The Rise of CIOaaS (CIO as a Service)”

„Ils n’ont rien appris ni rien oublié“ – „They have not learned or forgotten anything“, Napoleon Bonaparte about the old royal house of Bourbones

Michael Lehman outlined the use of established, seasoned CIO veterans, available on short notice for a temporary role in fact as a service provider for CIO tasks (“fractional CIO”).

Showing a full IT management career up to the board of a wall street-listed company, working as an Interim CIO / board advisor since a decade now, founded a company specialized on IT management consisting of former CIOs,

– I’d like to differ.

Of course: there are a lot of mission scenarios the Interim CIO is useful, not just during M&As or as a vacancy gap: turn arounds (which includes stabilizing and restructuring), new business areas, digital transformation, consolidating and outsourcing infrastructure, building shared services and competence centers…and many more.

And there are a lot of service components to offer: we have standardized most of the CIO’s working base, 61 single components, e.g. developing and implementing IT strategy, define & establish target architecture standards, develop & implement supplier engagement model, … and so on.

But we had to learn that there are additional benefits important to companies an Interim CIO provides.

Big challenges are better off with Interim CIOs

The expensive buildup of an internal expertise seldomly pay-off, because big threatening problems solved don’t need expensive internal management capabilities and capacity anymore. And Interim CIOs are immanently loyal to company goals, not to goals of a consultant company striving for prolongation of engagements. If the job is done, it’s time to leave. Interim managers suffer credibility if they stay longer as needed. And if there are barely correctable incompatibilities between him and other managers, it’s a matter of one day to solve this problem.

Interim CIOs make companies faster

Strategic and operational expertise can be bought easily. At this level, there is no need to build internal staff expensively burdening with a high risk of creating an acceptable ROI. The Interim CIO links his knowledge with it’s of the company – this is how he move things forward. This makes more agile and adaptable in general, not only IT.

An Interim CIO is more effective in tenuous situations

He (or she) is more believable in moderating between internally fighting parties, without pulling in a new one. He doesn’t care for his career position. He can act without the burden of bad fights in the past – but he can act with added pushing towards goal achievement, maybe never known before to this company.

An Interim CIO addresses organizational resilience

He is not in the position to wait until new insights diffuse into all companies’ corners, he has to act now. In a situation of an internal stalemate of powers, threatening the company with stagnation where change is essential for survival, the Interim CIO offers a way out.

Interim CIOs lower risks in crisis situations

In tense company situations, there is usually no time for experiments. An Interim CIO offers a big chunk of reliability of success in times of uncertainty.

Frank Hilderts

HILDERTS & Partner

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