The challenges and benefits of being an interim CIO

Managing change in difficult environments is the core skill of the interim and this is why many organisations are turning to them right now.

Typically, they’re hiring interims for two reasons:

 - To build corporate resilience to maintain competitiveness — to keep the lights on
 - To formulate a plan for strategic change and then execute it

The day-to-day skills required of the interim will depend on the role that the CIO will be performing.

If it is someone to maintain the status quo, then good people management skills and a broad knowledge of delivering a quality ICT Service is needed.


If the CIO is to initiate a strategic shift, then strong change management skills within an ICT environment is needed.

Change is usually initiated due to poor performance of the existing IT department.

This could be related to unacceptable ICT programme or project delivery. Typically, when they are running over budget, over time and have become de-scoped. Another reason could be poorly performing staff, through lack of skills or under investment in development.

High business growth coupled with IT cultural issues can require the recruitment of an interim. So can the need to control high IT costs or boost value-add from the IT department.

Most interim roles are secured by reputation and past references, either direct with companies or through high-end interim solutions agencies.