What is the Role of an Interim CIO? 5 Common Use Cases

What is the Role of an Interim CIO? 5 Common Use Cases

Let’s face it: an Interim Chief Information Officer has to be of instant value to an organization. A top interim CIO can take on any technically-challenging project that would be assigned to the permanent CIO, though they usually have a focus on bringing change and transformation to an organization.

While some Interim CIOs may be brought in to perform initial work such as a technology audit — a fast way to assess if an organization is optimally set up from an infrastructure perspective — in many other cases the need for an Interim CIO is driven by a specific project or initiative:

Business and ERP System Implementation >

When a company wants to automate process or functions from finance to accounting to supply chain and customer relationships, they often look to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. But implementing a big solution like SAP, Oracle, JDE, or Microsoft Navision, comes with challenges – especially when it comes to merging with (or migrating from) legacy systems or between multiple divisions. An Interim CIO brings vast integration and implementation experience that IT Directors or consultants fresh out of MBA school don’t have.


Interim CIO, $500M Consumer Products Division of $3B Parent Company

A major SAP implementation and outsourcing project ran off the rails, so the global CIO brought in an accomplished Interim CIO to stabilize the environment, complete the SAP implementation and create process, systems, structure, and align the team.

Result:  Interim CIO leadership extracted value from an SAP outsourcing initiative, achieving business goals, improving processes, lowering operational costs, and leading change.

 M&A and Business Integration >

When companies merge or acquire another company, how do different systems integrate and reconcile to smoothly function as a whole? Who chooses which technology platforms to keep and which to discard? How do teams merge? An Interim CIO will create a plan of attack, and complete the integration of a division or company on a project basis, in some cases serving as a resource to the full-time CIO, CFO or COO. The result is that the Interim CIO fortifies the permanent management team for M&A special projects and technology transitions – without adding to permanent overhead.

Digital and Cloud Solutions >

HR, customer service, supply chain, finance and other business functions have historically operated as separate units, but chaos can result as different SaaS and cloud service companies run independently through each business unit.  A CIO takes a holistic view, working with the entire C-suite – CEO, CFO, CSO, CMO, COO – to streamline enterprise solutions, ensure data security and compliance, and to create strategy around the use of data, which more and more has become the main revenue driver of many organizations. The Interim CIO ultimately joins the management team to lead concerted strategy blending disparate technology efforts toward a unified enterprise solution, process, and data model.

Security, Guidelines and Compliance >

Cyber security is becoming more and more of a driving factor in many businesses. While in some cases industries like healthcare and finance drive regulation (think HIPPA or PCI compliance), in others the integrity of customer and company data is essential. A great interim CIO or interim CISO can put together the system and processes to deal with evolving compliance requirements, lowering business risks by achieving audit-worthy levels of regulatory compliance ensuring business integrity, industry reputation, and customer-valued security and privacy protections.

Global Outsourcing >

In many cases a company realizes savings in taking certain functions of the business outside their walls. A CIO can often be brought in to lead an outsourcing initiative and restructure the IT organization, managing all aspects of a migration to a technology service provider. Here an Interim CIO lowers operational costs by orchestrating and blend of external  IT outsourcing and internal IT organizational restructuring.


Interim CIO, Nonprofit Association

A large medical association needed help reviewing vendor choices for a new technology platform. An interim executive with deep technology experience assisted the CIO to evaluate competing technologies and make a fast, informed, efficient decision.

Result:  Interim CIO achieved an optimized portfolio of technology vendors, lowering IT costs while improving the quality of IT & cloud suppliers.

READ MORE: Interim CIO & Part-Time CIO Services