CIO vs vCIO
The chief information officer (CIO) is responsible for all of the technology requirements for their company. They formulate goals, oversee IT operations, and work closely with management and staff to keep everyone on the same page. With the growing importance of technology, the CIO plays a critical role in ensuring the business remains on-task and up-to-date.
But what if you can’t afford to hire a CIO? They are pretty pricey. Or what if you don’t have the time to extensively search for one? There is an alternative. Employing a virtual CIO (vCIO) is a great immediate solution — and could turn into a long-term choice.
A vCIO is an outsourced information technology resource that provides the same services as your CIO but manages things offsite instead of inside your building. The virtual CIO understands security frameworks and policies, and feels comfortable directing staff members toward concrete resolutions of problems.
A vCIO is a consultant but also something more. They integrate into your business to keep it running smoothly so you can put your focus where you need it — on your customers and your products.
The Advantages of Using a VCIO
Adding a vCIO is a good idea for a number of reasons. The benefits of this move include:
1. Increase productivity. If you have been overseeing the technology needs of your staff, you may find yourself frustrated and worn out. Concentrating on running your business and increasing your customer base is most likely where you shine, so don't waste time dealing with technology problems. Handing off this responsibility to someone else will free you up to focus on things that may have fallen through the cracks while you tried to get up to speed on IT.
2. Avoid the hassle of onboarding a new C-level employee. When you bring on a C-suite professional, you perform a complicated dance. You have to spend time onboarding them and getting them familiar with your IT staff and how it functions. If you use a vCIO that has consulted for you, there’s no lag time. They are fully familiar with your business and ready to start.
3. Pay less for equal services. A vCIO performs just as well as a CIO, but they generally cost quite a bit less. You don’t have to cover benefits such as health care, insurance, and retirement. You don’t have to clear a desk for them or buy them birthday/anniversary presents. (Though you could do that latter if you really wanted to. We wouldn't mind.)
4. Produce proactive protection. No company wants a reactive strategy when it comes to protecting data. A vCIO can institute preventative practices to keep your information safe from hackers, software glitches, viruses, and more.
How Do I Choose a vCIO?
You’ll want to look for several qualities when you search for a vCIO. Ask these questions of your consulting candidates:
>>> Have you worked with companies of a similar size to ours?
>>> How do you communicate with your clients?
>>> Can you provide customized reports on trends and developments related to our current systems?
>>> What suggestions do you have for maximizing our IT budget?
The answers will help guide you in this important decision, which can save you money and (most importantly) time.