The Value of a Virtual CIO
If you own a small or mid-sized business, you probably have multiple plans in place from marketing to finance in order to reach your long-term goals. While your SMB may not have the hefty IT budget of your big business counterparts and their fancy full-time CIOs (chief information officer), you should still not miss out on one of the most important plans of all—an IT success plan.
If your IT department is merely focused on running your existing systems without a strategy for aligning technology’s role with the big picture for company growth, it may be time to consider a virtual CIO.
What is a Virtual CIO?
A virtual CIO is an expert technology advisor that businesses turn to when they don't have the means or demand for a full-time, in-house CIO. Although this individual is a consultant, rather than a full-time employee, s/he performs the same duties as a conventional CIO.
These include aligning business objectives with IT systems, formulating a strategic IT plan, and analyzing business processes to facilitate changes in technology. Just as you'd rely on a financial advisor for strategic fiscal advice, a virtual CIO should be your go-to technical contact as well as a trusted business partner who understands how technology fulfills your company's unique needs.
Unlike order-takers, who fix tactical problems, a virtual CIO is a financially-savvy, business-oriented individual who looks beyond day-to-day technical support to ensure your business maintains a competitive advantage in your marketplace.
5 Reasons a Virtual CIO is the Leader You Need
1. Provide flexible IT solutions: Unlike hiring a full-time, in house CIO, contracting your IT needs to a virtual CIO gives you flexible service options so you receive as much or as little assistance as your company needs. As a third party, a virtual CIO will likely provide greater objectivity, allowing them to present you with a full array of IT solutions without the pressure of internal politics.
2. Give you the resources of a full-time CIO (without the cost): Even though a virtual CIO is not a full-time employee, they have the means, connections, and know-how that make it possible to solve IT problems that may arise. Furthermore, since a virtual CIO has an understanding of how your company operates, even if they don't possess the exact resources possible to solve a specific problem, they can connect you with reliable experts who can help.
3. Aid in cost reduction: By optimizing your technology to streamline business processes, ensuring your team has the right tools for the job, and making sure that you don’t overspend, a virtual CIO helps maximize the return on your IT investment.
4. Let you focus on your core competencies: With a comprehensive IT plan in place, you can stop worrying about keeping your technology afloat and devote your full attention to what you do best.
5. Communicate Risk in a Clear Language: Managing IT risk is vital to ensure the safety of your company’s valuable data. Unlike a day-to-day technician who may bog you down with complicated “tech speak”, a virtual CIO is able to convey the legitimate value of IT projects and their associated risks in plain language without sugarcoating benefits or glossing over the technical details.