What Is a Virtual CIO and How Can a vCIO Help Your Business Grow?
Business leaders focus on running things smoothly, maximizing profits, and delivering the bottom line. Yet, there are so many things that can be distractions. Some may be temporary and minor, while others have long-lasting implications for success.
Owners and managers must find quality workers, manage supply chains, provide exceptional client services, maintain a competitive edge — the list of duties is extensive. It can be overwhelming even for the most skilled and experienced leaders.
One thing many executives struggle with is the burden of managing technology. This often leads to inefficient processes that rely on outdated technology and prevents companies from delivering quality services or inhibits business growth.
While recognizing the importance of strategic planning in technology and IT infrastructure, many business leaders lack the experience or time to deal with it effectively. Enterprise-level companies hire a Chief Information Officer (CIO) to relieve the burden and ensure a focus on strategic IT planning. However, many businesses simply can’t afford to employ a full-time CIO or find high-caliber candidates to fill the role.
These businesses are turning to fractional CIOs or virtual CIOs (vCIO).
What is a CIO?
A Chief Information Officer is responsible for overseeing an organization's IT strategy. Beyond managing the technology, a CIO plays a leadership role in strategic and management strategy to ensure IT aligns with company goals.
This includes safeguarding and protecting information by mitigating security threats, implementing technology and systems that drive business growth, and
enabling business continuity.
What is a Virtual CIO?
A virtual CIO is a company or individual that will fulfill the duties and responsibilities of your CIO without the hefty expense of recruiting, hiring, paying, and retaining top-tier talent. A vCIO will work as an extension of your staff and provide guidance in:
- Planning strategic IT goals
- Developing budgets
- Analyzing and recommending changes to business processes to increase efficiency and productivity
- Managing technology changes to meet business goals
- Securing and maintaining IT infrastructure
A vCIO goes beyond IT support by providing expert-level guidance to help ensure a business optimizes its technology and planning for future needs effectively. A vCIO takes a much broader view of the business, focuses on managing the technology, and how IT requirements align with the rest of the organization.
Many businesses engage a vCIO to ensure they have high-level input into their business strategy or as part of their managed IT services.
The benefits of a vCIO
IT teams focus on keeping the business running smoothly. Depending on the level of expertise or time available, there’s often less focus on where a business needs to go next to meet evolving needs. Investing in a virtual CIO works similarly to how a financial advisor or lawyer helps your business by providing expert-level guidance to avoid mistakes and succeed.
Align tech with business goals
Most importantly, a vCIO will tie your IT strategy to your business goals. They will work with you to understand your business and develop a comprehensive strategic roadmap for long-term success.
A vCIO works as a partner to help ensure you have the right technology and processes in place to maximize your operations.
Provide solutions when business goals or needs change
If business goals or needs change, vCIOs have the experience to pivot quickly. For example, switching technology support to accommodate remote work or focusing more on online sales.
When business goals evolve, vCIOs can adapt quickly and provide the solutions you need to optimize your operations.
Expertise without the high cost
Another key benefit of a vCIO is that you get the services of a qualified Chief Information Officer without the high cost of adding a senior-level IT executive. A vCIO will provide the guidance you need at a substantially lower cost and allow business leaders to free themselves up from managing complex IT initiatives and planning.
vCIOs are trained in aligning business goals with technology and are constantly evaluating new technology and processes that can help your business. As such, a vCIO is highly skilled at finding the best possible solutions for your business. They have the expertise to provide strategic advice on changes that can increase productivity and efficiency, lower costs, and mitigate risk.
In addition, a vCIO will have the experience of working across multiple companies and tech solutions. This gives them more profound insight into how businesses work to bring best practices to your organization.
Since a vCIO usually has multiple clients, the cost of services is shared, which can result in significant savings. This is especially attractive for small and medium-sized businesses that can’t afford the high cost of a full-time CIO.
An independent, objective voice
A vCIO provides an independent voice about your business, strategy, technology, and processes. They aren’t beholden to legacy systems or the way things have been done in the past. This objectively allows them to help you strategize the best way forward.
Many companies find that when they begin working with a vCIO, this third-party perspective helps them solve nagging IT problems they’ve been dealing with for years. A virtual CIO will understand the bigger picture and be able to navigate the roadblocks effectively.
Drive IT initiatives
Nine out of ten businesses are currently engaged in some form of IT initiatives according to Gartner. Whether businesses are undergoing large-scale digital transformations, evolving their technology, or launching new digital initiatives with their existing tech stack, a skilled vCIO can guide the process and successfully deliver on IT goals.
A vCIO will know how to manage the process efficiently, maximize operations cost-effectively, and avoid costly mistakes.
Let business leaders stay focused
When business owners and managers must focus on solving IT challenges, it takes time away from core responsibilities. By allowing an expert to manage the complexities of your technology, business leaders can stay focused on driving business growth.
Is investing in a vCIO right for your business?
Hardware, software, and cloud resources are constantly evolving. As such, managing IT infrastructure is becoming increasingly complex. Missing out on new tech and processes can set your business back and allow competitors to gain leverage.
For companies that want to ensure they have a strategic plan that aligns with their business goals and provides a pathway to future success, a vCIO is a great way to optimize your IT infrastructure without the high cost of adding a full-time senior executive.
Is a vCIO right for your business? Get in touch with the trusted technology experts at Sagiss today for a free consultation.