In old Westerns, when a town ran into trouble the sheriff brought in a hired gun to help smooth things over.

Today, when a small business runs into IT trouble, the owner can bring in his own version of a hired gun - a contract CIO.

Qualutions CIOs are experienced IT professionals who work either for a finite period of time or on an ongoing basis. Depending on your company needs, some contract CIOs work full time, while others put in a few hours a week and work with several clients simultaneously.

According to IT experts, using a contract CIO makes sense for a small business that:

  • Could use the expertise but can't afford to pay someone full time.
  • Has outgrown its current IT setup, needs to upgrade, and wants input from someone who knows the marketplace well enough to suggest solutions that would be a good fit.
  • Has a technology project that calls for more expertise than the company's in-house IT manager can offer.
  • Is involved in a merger or acquisition and could use an outsider's advice on how to blend different IT systems.