Should You Be Hiring a Virtual Chief Information Officer?

June 24, 2020

How many seats are there at your C-suite table? A small business might have only a CEO. A mid-sized one may add another one or two C’s — COO? CFO? CMO? It depends just how many acronyms you want!!

But you don’t have to be enterprise-sized to enjoy a Chief Information Officer’s (CIO) skillset. Virtual CIOs help any size business create a tech strategy to meet business goals.

Every business will shape the CIO role differently. Still, this individual typically has the following responsibilities:

  • planning information technology (IT) strategy
  • budgeting for technology to support business goals
  • keeping abreast of current technology trends
  • evaluating new technologies to improve productivity, enhance operational efficiency, and reduce costs
  • building and maintaining an effective, motivated IT team
  • inspiring and embracing technological innovation
  • developing security, business continuity, and disaster recovery policies

Notice how this role differs from a Technology Director or IT Director. The director is typically more of a hands-on operationally focused IT leader. The TD or IT Director is more likely to be buying IT and managing the technical solutions.

The vCIO is a strategic consultant. He or she needs to understand the day-to-day operations, of course, but this role is more about bigger-picture thinking. As more technology is moved to the cloud and outsourced to partnerships, the vCIO is the outward-facing lead.

A vCIO takes a broad view of business technology needs. They prioritise IT needs and provide methods to improve regulatory compliance. With an eye on Return on Investment (ROI), the vCIO builds vendor relationships and reviews the IT teams’ strengths.

One especially relevant area of IT that may benefit from a vCIO’s input is Business Continuity – ensuring the business can continue to operate in the event of an emergency situation such as a global pandemic.

How Does a virtual Chief Information Officer Help Business?

People may be the backbone of the business, yet you can bet they rely on networks, computer systems, and software applications to get the job done. Processing invoices, collaborating on documents, organising meetings, video conferencing … business has gone digital.

Without the right technology in place, you could be wasting resources: time and money. Many companies get sold on particular IT solutions and stick with them out of loyalty. With so much else demanding attention, it’s easier to rely on legacy systems to get the job done.

But that’s not necessarily the best thing for the business. A virtual CIO can help identify areas of duplication and wasted resources. Maybe you are paying for more software licenses than you need? An outdated system is slowing you down. You could be under-utilising your existing hardware. This tech expert explores process and makes recommendations for streamlining business practices.

As digital transformation leaders, CIOs are as critical to cultural change as chief human resources officers. — Gartner

A virtual CIO lets you keep up with the core challenges facing your business. Meanwhile, you’re leaving technology concerns to an expert. A virtual CIO, even a part-time one, comes to understand your business objectives. Then, they ensure your IT infrastructure is the best fit it can be.

It’s safe to say that technology is complicated, regardless of your industry. Plus, IT is evolving rapidly. Don’t miss out on opportunities to leverage the best tools for your business. Take a strategic approach to IT with the aid of a virtual CIO.

How We Can Help

At Your IT Department we work with carefully chosen partners with decades of experience offering virtual Chief Information Officer services.

Many IT companies provide a vCIO from their own staff. There is a danger that those individuals may choose the solutions that are best for the provider rather than the client.

Because we use a third-party our customers get a completely impartial service, allowing us input in the process but making the solution vendor agnostic.

If you’d like us to put you in touch with one of our partners please complete our Contact Form or call us on 0115 8220200.

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