Technology is complex and fast-changing and many companies are struggling to manage their technology properly. Businesses can find themselves stuck in a rut maintaining outdated technology that is hindering performance. If you’re not using the right technology to meet your business goals, it’s likely a sizable chunk of your budget is being wasted.
In-house IT teams are often so busy trying to keep internal systems and operations up and running, they don’t have time to do the kind of strategic planning that would identify the needs to update or change technology. This is where you could benefit from a third party consultant, such as a virtual chief information officer (vCIO), who can provide a fresh perspective on your technology operations. An objective consultant is much better placed to identify issues that might have been overlooked and to make recommendations about improving or replacing legacy systems and practices.
In addition, using a vCIO is a great way to lower costs while gaining access to expertise and technological knowledge you may not be able to afford to provide in-house. A vCIO can provide the pathway for your organisation to leverage technology to increase revenue and decrease expenses.
What is a vCIO?
A vCIO is a dedicated resource who serves as a chief Information officer on a flexible basis. Think of them as a tech advisor at the highest level, without the need for paying a full-time CIO’s salary. Their primary role is to formulate strategic IT goals for your company, and then manage an IT strategy and budget that meets those goals.
Developing a strategic technology plan can be a complex and difficult task, and not everyone has the skills to do it effectively. An experienced vCIO will have had the advantage of having seen many other companies struggling with similar challenges as yours, and will know which technologies are best for solving specific problems.
Beyond having deep technical expertise and being on top of the latest industry trends, a vCIO is required to have a good understanding of business management. This is a critical skill that’s required to understand your business goals, ultimately turning your goals into a robust, long-term strategic technology plan that aligns with your company’s unique needs and vision.
vCIOs are most often a part of the portfolio of IT consulting services delivered by Managed Service Providers (MSPs). They tend to work with small to medium sized companies to leverage technology and bolster business success.
Responsibilities of a vCIO
As a consultant, the services of a vCIO combine the tasks typically managed and maintained by chief information officers, chief technology officers, and technology consultants. Their role goes beyond just supporting the technology at your business and they are often more forward thinking, providing objectivity on what technology can be most beneficial to your company.
vCIO responsibilities include:
- Planning your technology roadmap
- Creating yearly budgets
- Understanding your business’ goals and proposing relevant technology solutions
- Advising on best practices and trends relevant to your industry
- Advising on compliance requirements with suggestions and plans for adhering to them
- Speaking to your clients regarding large technical issues/incidents
- Building relationships with key technology vendors
A vCIO will also regularly meet with your management team to keep them aware and involved in your IT evolution.
How a vCIO adds value to your business
In today’s challenging business environment, IT is something all businesses should invest in. The IT objectives that are vital to most businesses include:
- Operational excellence whereby your business runs efficiently, proatively reduces operational costs, and maximises available resources.
- Staying up-to-date with new business models, service delivery, and product evolution in order to maintain relevance.
- Efficient customer-supplier engagement resulting in long-term relationships that are good for your business.
- Improved decision-making in which the business readily makes reliable decisions in the ever-changing business landscape.
- Gaining a competitive advantage – leveraging IT to identify potential advantages for your business.
A vCIO can help you by defining these objectives and creating a technology roadmap for your business. They add value to your business by:
- Helping to set strategic priorities, key initiatives, and identifying ROI
- Providing methods and processes to drive change
- Offering input on regulatory and compliance matters
- Evaluating current team skills and alignment
- Managing your day to day technology direction
- Supporting strategic vendor relationships
- Keepinging your network secure
- Future proofing your technology
How your business can save money with a vCIO
A vCIO is more cost-effective than hiring a traditional executive, which involves setting aside a six-figure yearly budget to cover the basic salary. A vCIO can also reduce operational costs without interfering with the daily operations of your business. While working remotely, the vCIO does not add to the overall cost of having staff in the office. Other cost-savings include:
- Saving the cost of hiring and retaining hard-to-find, expensive talent
- Optimising the costs of your current IT environment
- Keeping your business secure
Keeping your business secure is an important point to keep in mind as many businesses then to underestimate the enormous costs of a data breach. A vCIO can develop a strategic security plan that may include security policies, training programs, business continuity planning and disaster recovery.
Obtaining a strategic advantage
Today, the modern workplace looks dramatically different from what it did a couple of years ago. The workforce are in remote or hybrid arrangements, and businesses are relying on cloud technologies more heavily than ever before. All of these changes require deep expertise and the ability to manage a complex IT environment – skills many internal IT departments lack. Taking advantage of a vCIO can help your business save money, stay secure and achieve better alignment between your IT and business goals.
Along with a suite of other managed IT services, Neo Technologies offers vCIO services designed to keep your business prepared for the future. Contact us on 1300 661 832 to learn more about ways we can partner with your organisation to achieve your business goals.