Some of the biggest investments you will ever make for your business involve technology. From implementing new software that streamlines processes to installing the latest hardware to elevate your team’s productivity, decisions about technology should never be taken lightly.
Critical decisions about IT can be difficult to make without proper guidance. That’s why many businesses choose to work with a Virtual Chief Information Officer or vCIO.
In this article, we’ll discuss what a vCIO is, why your business needs a vCIO, what virtual CIO services focus on, and the qualities and benefits they offer.
What Does a Virtual CIO Do?
A virtual CIO is a third-party individual that your company brings on to serve as a consultant for the development and execution of your technology strategy.
They are a more cost-effective alternative to hiring a full-time chief information officer. Fees for vCIO services are generally paid on a flat hourly rate as opposed to a regular salary and benefits for a full-time employee.
Small businesses and medium-size organizations are usually the best candidates for virtual CIO services. These businesses tend to have smaller budgets that do not allow for the hiring of a full-time CIO.
Many traditional MSPs provide access to a vCIO as part of their service offerings. If your business is considering a digital transformation but needs advice and support to bring that vision to fruition, virtual CIO solutions can make a big difference.
Your virtual CIO’s first objective will be to take stock of your entire IT infrastructure to ensure everything is working as intended. They will then meet with your team of decision-makers, either in-person or virtually, to discuss their findings.
During the meeting, the vCIO will make specific recommendations about technology upgrades and procurement that align with your business’s unique needs. They also provide strategic planning services, such as the creation of customized roadmaps, and a long-term IT plan that will help you reach your business goals.
What Do Virtual CIO Solutions Focus On?
A vCIO will generally focus on any technology that is responsible for managing critical business processes and service delivery. For example, your virtual CIO will examine:
- Cloud services
- Business technology
- Cybersecurity practices
- Disaster recovery planning
- IT project management and spending
- And more
After your initial meeting, your vCIO should meet with you periodically to share updates, analyze performance, and discuss where you are on your journey to reaching your technology and business goals.
If any of your objectives change along the way, you should bring them up during the meetings so that your vCIO can take the appropriate action and propose new solutions.
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Qualities and Benefits of an Effective Virtual CIO
The role of a vCIO sometimes differs from one managed IT services provider to another.
In some cases, an MSP’s vCIO services provide you with someone who is little more than an account manager and salesperson. Their job is to upsell you on services, devices, and software that may not be needed. This leads to unnecessary spending and inconsistent advice that could lead you down the wrong path.
An effective virtual CIO serves as your trusted technology advisor and provides you with expert guidance that leads to better decision-making with no upselling involved. Instead, your vCIO will try to find ways to help you generate long-term savings and better returns through technology.
If you’re partnering with a traditional MSP that offers virtual CIO services, some of the qualities and benefits of working with a vCIO include:
1. Expert Insight
A virtual CIO should be able to provide insight that is a perfect marriage between technology strategy, business intelligence, and your business goals. They accomplish this by maintaining regular contact with your company’s decision-makers.
2. Understanding of IT Industry Trends
Information technology is constantly evolving, so your vCIO should be well-versed in the latest IT trends and how they can positively impact your business operations.
3. Ability to Provide Strategic Planning
As previously mentioned, your vCIO should have a firm grasp on how your business operates to make proactive suggestions on new technologies or improvements to existing solutions.
4. IT Budgeting Expertise
All upgrades and procurement opportunities identified by your virtual CIO should take your budgetary limitations into account while also considering their potential return on investment (ROI).
5. Strong Leadership Qualities
Being an effective communicator while also displaying leadership skills are vital to the role of a virtual chief information officer. A good vCIO should offer useful advice and be available for meetings and consultations while showing a willingness to work with your team and understand the nuances of your business.
6. Adaptability to Evolving Objectives
Your business goals can sometimes change during the strategic planning process. In that respect, your virtual CIO should be able to properly adapt when changes are made to your operational goals so that they can provide you with the best possible advice.
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Making strategic decisions about IT can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Relying on virtual CIO services brings clarity to these decisions to ensure you make the right technology investments that secure a better future for your business without exceeding your budget.
As a leading managed IT services provider in Rhode Island and New England for over 25 years, Technology Advisory Group (TAG) pairs all clients with a virtual chief information officer. This ensures you always have access to an expert who can help you navigate through critical IT decisions while providing customized advisory services.
Working with a TAG vCIO gives you direct access to an expert consultant who helps your company forge ahead with sound advice, beneficial information, and proactive technology leadership that drives success.
For more information about our vCIO services and the benefits they offer, contact us today to schedule a consultation.