What is a fractional IT director and do I need one?

Small and mid-size firms can benefit from IT director services without having to hire a full-time IT director, writes 3Kites’ Jon Howells

Some smaller firms use a fractional IT director for two-to-four days a month Shutterstock

The IT landscape is constantly changing, and navigating this landscape is a key requirement for businesses of every size to ensure they are managing systems and data, providing cybersecurity and implementing relevant digital transformation initiatives to maximise returns and minimise risks. Larger firms employ full-time senior IT roles to ensure the business is making the most of its technology and innovating where appropriate. However, for many small to medium-sized firms, this senior role is an expensive, ongoing commitment that few will feel able to support.

Where a full-time IT director is not possible, 3Kites provides the option of a fractional IT director. This is an experienced IT professional that brings with them the market knowledge to fulfil the role of a trusted advisor who works with the firm on a frequency that meets its needs (firms normally request either two or four days a month). Depending on the firm’s needs, the fractional IT director may focus on working with the firm’s leadership team, such as attending board meetings to ensure technology is being considered where appropriate. However, it can also be a more hands-on role, working with your IT team and its suppliers to direct and manage projects ranging from infrastructure (local and cloud) and laptops, to applications such as the firm’s practice, case and document management.  

Other terms for a fractional IT director include IT director-as-a-service, virtual IT director, outsourced IT director, part-time IT director or interim IT director.

Benefits of a fractional IT director

  • Cost-effective solution: hiring a full-time IT director comes with substantial financial commitments, including a competitive salary, benefits and potentially expensive recruitment fees. A fractional IT director offers a cost-effective, high-value alternative.
  • Flexibility: your requirements for IT director services will vary depending on the projects you are undertaking – a fractional IT director role can flex as you need it, increasing when there is demand and reducing when not.
  • Expertise and experience: fractional IT directors will have years of experience from working with a range of companies, allowing them to leverage that knowledge (and that of the broader 3Kites team) in order to benefit your firm. As a fractional IT director will likely be working in more than one firm at a time, cross-learning from the organisations can provide valuable insight.
  • Confidence that IT is being considered: management teams can spend considerable time trying to understand what is required from IT, which is a distraction from its primary objective of running the firm. With a fractional IT director in place, the firm has the confidence that its IT needs are being considered and, where necessary and agreed, acted upon appropriately.


In a quickly changing business environment, strategic IT leadership is, at one and the same time, both a necessity and cost prohibitive for many small and medium-sized firms. A fractional IT director offers the benefits and capabilities of a permanent role at a fraction of the cost, helping to level the playing field.  

As businesses continue to evolve, the need for IT leadership will only increase, making the fractional IT director a valuable resource for organisations looking to ensure their IT systems are in-line with the firm’s expectations.
If you would like further information about 3Kites’ fractional IT director services, or any of the other 3Kites’ services, please contact Jon Howells ([email protected]).

Jon Howells is a consultant at 3Kites. This is the 26th article in the series Navigating Legaltech


About 3Kites and Kemp IT Law  
3Kites is an independent consultancy, which is to say that we have no ties or arrangements with any suppliers so that we can provide our clients with unfettered advice. We have been operating since 2006 and our consultants include former law firm partners (one a managing partner), a GC, two law firm IT directors and an owner of a practice management company. This blend of skills and experience puts us in a unique position when providing advice on IT strategy, fractional IT management, knowledge management, product selections, process review (including the legal process) and more besides. 3Kites often works closely with Kemp IT Law (KITL), a boutique law firm offering its clients advice on IT services and related areas such as GDPR. Where relevant (eg when discussing cloud computing in a future article) this column may include content from the team at KITL to provide readers with a broader perspective including any regulatory considerations.

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]