What does an Interim CTO do?

A Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is responsible for technology, teams, and suppliers. They drive innovation and efficiency across the business.

Sometimes a company may be between CTOs and will hire a CTO as a stopgap. Thus an interim CTO, by definition, will be replaced by a permanent hire. This can create confusion and a lack of continuity for a company.

A better choice may be a fractional CTO. “Fractional” simply means “flexible” and can mean “part-time.” But a fractional CTO can stay with your business for years, providing strategy and continuity. And because they work on a fractional basis, it’s more affordable and cost-effective than a permanent hire.

Who needs to hire an interim CTO?

There are a number of situations that may drive a CEO to seek an interim CTO. Sometimes a company looks for an interim CTO to develop bespoke software. Or a start-up may need technology leadership to provide credibility to investors. A mid-market company may want an interim CTO to help it through a period of rapid growth. Finally, a company may seek an interim CTO to keep the IT and technology working well until they can find someone permanent.

In our experience, a fractional CTO has been a better choice in every one of these scenarios. An interim CTO, by definition, is for the short-term; a fractional CTO can help with the same short-term issues, but their long-term commitment means a more comprehensive and strategic approach. And you aren’t stuck with a contract: a fractional CTO can ramp up or down depending upon your needs.

What do CTO Interim Services include?

  1. Creating a robust, secure, trouble-free infrastructure (including desktops, email, phones, network, file storage)
  2. Managing business systems, including the processes, people, and technology needed to make them work well (such as training, data standards, and documentation)
  3. Delivery of digital initiatives that likely encompass customers, partners and suppliers
  4. Ensuring compliance and risk management (for example, GDPR, PCI, ISO27001).

How much do CTO Interim Services cost?

Surveys by recruitment companies indicate a pay range from $140,000 to $280,000 per year, depending on the scope of the job and location. An interim CTO will often work on a day-rate, and that can add up quite quickly.

A fractional CTO, in contrast, is a fixed, predictable cost that works out to be (of course) a fraction of a total salary. At Freeman Clarke, we specialize in fractional CTOs, from a few days per month to full-time, or even entire teams. (Click here to get in touch.)

How to hire an Interim CTO

There is no shortage of agencies who specialize in interim CTOs. When considering an interim CTO, consider the following points:

  • Why have they chosen the interim lifestyle? Will that make it difficult for them to engage with your company’s culture and values?
  • Do they have an interest in the long-term viability of their work?
  • When their interim is complete, will they still be available for questions?
  • Do they have arrangements with the suppliers they recommend, or are they independent?

If any of these questions are not answered to your satisfaction, it is likely your business is better off with a fractional CTO.

“Freeman Clarke aligned our IT with our business strategy. Our systems now provide much greater support for our staff, reducing wasted time, costs, and problems. The culture and practices within our IT team have changed radically, and they are now a critical contributor to our success.”

Why Freeman Clarke?

Quality. Our unique model provides a cost-effective way to get the best talent in the business on your team. We hand-pick IT leaders on the basis of their skills and experience and their ability to fit into the culture of a mid-market business like yours.

Business-minded. We are business people, and we speak your language. Our IT strategies are always tuned to the needs of the business and commercial realities.

Independence. Our CTOs are completely independent. We make no arrangements with suppliers, so you can know that our recommendations are completely objective.

Flexibility. We don’t insist on an upfront payment or commitment to a six-figure sum. We demonstrate value every day, or else just tell us to stop immediately. It’s as simple as that.

Affordability. Our people are the best in the business, but as you take a fraction of their time the price point is affordable. We set our prices appropriate to the mid-market and we don’t cross-sell or upsell.


Visit our Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.