The rise of the fractional technology leader: How part-time interims bring value to organisations

Posted on Jul 2016

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The appointment of an interim technology leader doesn’t necessarily have to be on a full-time basis. Instead, there’s an increasing need for part-time, or fractional, expertise. Flexibility and cost-effectiveness are key motives for organisations seeking to benefit from the strategic input and independent standpoint of a part-time interim. But are these the only drivers, and what other benefits might fractional leadership bring?

Key drivers and benefits of hiring part-time interim staff

Organisations are increasingly turning to interim technology leaders to drive transformation in a business. However, interim leadership doesn’t necessarily have to be on a full-time basis. The Board of an organisation will often require strategic technology advice and guidance, insight into technology trends that could benefit the business, expert oversight, or mentorship for the in-house IT manager - none of which is achievable from a small and relatively inexperienced IT team. Fractional interim roles offer a flexible and cost-effective solution. A technology leader can be hired on a part-time basis for a limited number of hours per month but on a long-term basis. The interim will become embedded in the company and its culture and will have a clear understanding of the strategic direction of the organisation. Over time they will develop a strong relationship with the Board and will be best placed to provide valuable insight.

Delivering confidence to the Board

A typical mid-sized company tends to have a relatively small IT department. IT as a function is not typically represented on the Board or involved in the strategic direction of the organisation. One of the key benefits of bringing in an interim technology executive is to give the Board the confidence and assurance that they’re moving in the right direction. The role doesn’t justify the cost of a full-time heavyweight senior technology person.

In addition to this an interim is perceived as independent - they’re not part of the organisation and bring no baggage. This gravitas will allow them to enable transformation and drive change through.

Rising demand for interim roles

Statistics from a study by Robert Half reinforce the benefits that senior interim staff can bring to an organisation. Some 37 per cent of employers said they had turned to interims because the skills they required were not available in-house. 27 per cent said it was more cost-effective to hire an interim. As an interim provider Intuitus is seeing increasing demand for part-time interim technology leaders.

A further advantage of the interim model is the flexibility to increase the time commitment required from the role when step changes are needed in an organisation.

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