As technology continues to accelerate its blistering pace forwards, businesses need help to stay ahead. Large corporations hire Chief Information Officers to lead the way. For smaller businesses that lack the budget for a full-time hire, there’s another solution: the virtual CIO, or vCIO.
What is a Virtual CIO?
Instead of having a person who is physically present full time and paid like an executive, a Virtual CIO will take a few hours here and there to manage your IT needs. It’s a lot like having a consultant on call who specialises in IT for your particular sector.
When a VCIO makes recommendations, you can implement them using local IT services or your own technician. This provides top-quality IT management at a fraction of the cost of a full IT department.
6 Things a vCIO can do for you
As recent events have shown us, being remote doesn’t limit your ability to work effectively. A virtual CIO can do quite a lot for your company without ever setting foot in the door – a key skill at a time when business strategies are shifting but face-to-face interaction is not possible. Here are six of the most important tasks that your vCIO can handle:
1. Strategic planning guidance
The most important job of a CIO is to plan your company’s IT future. The first step is to identify your current strengths and weaknesses and look for improvements that will fit your business’s needs.
With expert knowledge of IT trends and the best tools available, you won’t have to worry about getting lured into expensive systems or software that you don’t really need. Let your new CIO determine the best course for your business.
This stage will lead to the development of your IT roadmap: a crucial document for your company’s growth.
2. Design a Technology Roadmap
Technology roadmaps break down your IT needs into various categories. For example, you could have categories for user hardware, network infrastructure, collaboration tools, security and governance, just to name a few.
Within each category, your vCIO will outline the steps that need to be taken and when they need to be taken. Typically, a technology roadmap covers a span of one to three years and allows for smooth integration of new technology as your business grows.
Another advantage of having an IT professional develop this roadmap is that they are more aware of emerging technologies and trends than you probably are. They can bring ideas to the table that you might not have even heard of!
4. Improve your bottom line
Did you know that 60% of small companies will go out of business within six months of being hacked? The loss of consumer confidence is devastating to small businesses. Unfortunately, the blame can be put squarely on the company for not employing the best practices that prevent hacks in the first place.
User error and poor network configuration lead to the majority of hacks. You can save yourself from heartbreak with a CIO who can analyse your business’s vulnerabilities and make the changes needed to secure your data, and your users, be they remote or in on the premises.
5. Innovate new solutions
Once you’ve outlined your technology plans, determined what components and tools you need, and have your data secured, then what’s next for your CIO to do? It’s time to make your business even more efficient and optimised.
Discuss your most pressing challenges. Is it acquiring new customers, or getting feedback? Are you struggling to get views on your website, or is repeat business the problem? Find the area of your company that needs improvement and see how technology can solve the problem.
Even if everything is running perfectly, life loves to throw curveballs at us. Just look at how a pandemic can completely throw your plans out the window. An experienced vCIO can guide you through the storm and help you to innovate ways to overcome unexpected obstacles.
6. Bring your business up to date
If your business has been doing things “the old-fashioned way” for a while, then it’s time to talk to a CIO. Almost every company has some aspect of their operations that feels dated and out of place in a modern world. Your customers will notice.
So whether you’re a startup or a 30-year old business, you can benefit from having a virtual CIO on hand.
Learn more today
If you’d like to learn more about remote IT services and what a vCIO can do for you, download our vCIO brochure. Our team can design a package that fits your needs perfectly, giving you all the advantages of an expert vCIO at a fraction of the corporate cost, so get in touch today.