May 17, 2021

10 Reasons Why You Should Use Virtual CIO Consulting for Your Business

A virtual CIO consulting expert, much like a conventional CIO, works in liaison with the managers at a business to help establish a firm’s IT roadmap. The expert drives more intelligent decision-making with strategic IT planning, thus enabling growth and enhanced productivity. When called upon, the virtual CIO (vCIO) demonstrates how to implement projects and services, ensuring that the technology infrastructure at the firm delivers value back to the business. 

vCIOs are most often a part of the portfolio of IT consulting services delivered by today’s Managed Service Providers (MSPs). As a consultant, the services of the vCIO combine the tasks managed and maintained by chief information officers, chief technology officers, and technology consultants. As such, their role goes beyond just supporting the technology at your business. They are often more forward thinking, especially since they offer more objectivity on what tech knowledge can be most beneficial to your company. 

10 Reasons Why You Should Use Virtual CIO Consulting for Your Business 

1. Defined IT Objectives and Technology Roadmap for Your Business

In today’s changing business environment; IT is something all businesses should invest in. The IT objects that are vital to your business should be:

  • Operation excellence whereby the business runs efficiently, productively reduces operation costs, and maximizes available resources.
  • Staying up-to-date with new business models, service delivery, and product evolution in a bid to stay relevant.
  • Efficient customer-supplier engagement that results 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.
  • Leveraging IT to identify and carve out a competitive advantage for the business. 

Virtual CIO consulting helps with defining these objectives and creating a technology roadmap for your business. 

2. Cost Factor 

Virtual CIO consulting is more cost-effective as compared to hiring a traditional executive. The former can cut operation costs without interfering with the daily operations of your business. To hire an onsite CIO requires that the business set aside a six-figure budget to cover the basic salary.

Furthermore, the business has to account for the benefits and bonuses due to the executive. When you go with a remote CIO, you will hardly spend a fraction of this amount. The funds can then be redirected into maintaining the onsite IT department or improving its hardware and software. The vCIO, while working remotely, does not add to the overall cost of having staff in the office. Notably, the pricing structure for a vCIO varies depending on whether the professional has a flat rate or if they prefer a monthly payout.

3. Technical Reporting 

Technology is the core of your business. A vCIO takes on strategic account management for you as the business takes on technical business review, governance, risk and compliance assessment, and technical reporting. The remote manager should report on the bandwidth conditions, faults in the system or mesh network. These are often in technical language that will escape the average business owner. If the business wants to incorporate artificial intelligence and big data into the business, the vCIO could help with integration into the system. Overall, a professional would be able to make sense of CRM and ERP systems and SaaS applications.

4. Dedicated Technology Department 

There is a clear need for a single senior technology executive responsible for developing and managing the technology needs for your business. This executive needs to be in charge of the decision-making and technology projects. Seeking out virtual CIO consulting provides your business with a trusted third party that works in liaison with the running IT operations. Having a dedicated IT department ensures that there is harmony across all applications upon which the business relies. Besides, the business can benefit from having a change management initiative handled by a dedicated team. The vCIO can keep track of the resources and funds used by the department, especially when the business did not have an onsite CIO department.

5. Uncertainty About the Future 

The business environment is full of uncertainties. Natural disasters, market slumps, and financial crises are always looming, necessitating newer business approaches. Digital transformation is the response to the complex global business environment that has resulted from the uncertain future. Part of the agile approach taken up by innovative business owners and managers is hiring vCIO consulting. The executive takes on technological shifts while ensuring that the business stays on par with competitors. Besides, having a remote staff pull ensures the business continues to thrive even when the business’s physical location is affected. Finally, most businesses are taking up remote talent, and as such, your business will be in line with your competition.

6. Financial Management 

Outsourcing your IT needs helps the enterprise budget more efficiently. Most businesses will spend up to a quarter of their revenue on technology-related expenses. The alarming fact is that most businesses do so without having a plan or a budget. A vCIO creates a technology roadmap that tracks the life cycle of any new technology resource acquired. The expert also reports on the ROI on the current and future projects, which helps in creating accurate and predictable budgets. Through careful planning, the vCIO eliminates any surprise expenses while keeping the business up to date with all aspects of the technology.

Besides, with virtual CIO consulting, businesses can benefit from strategic technology directions and avoid the costs of poorly maintained systems. These ensure that the business does not suffer any costs that might arise from inefficient IT environments.

7. Monitoring Performance 

Virtual CIO consulting can provide your business with independent reports on the performance service level. The monitoring is especially helpful for businesses that rely heavily on IT transactions. Similarly, businesses without a physical address require consistent monitoring. The executive can track the performance of the hardware acquired by the business and report on any errors in operations. Overall, they can embark on problem management to act as a firewall against any errors in the IT infrastructure. In recurrent incidents, the professional can eradicate any adverse effects that could mean backlogs or technical debt.

8. Regulation and Compliance 

Technology advancement has brought with it a set of problems, especially since IT can be incredibly sensitive to the business and your customers. As a precaution, policymakers have enacted rules and regulations to which businesses have to adhere. These include:

  • Compulsory software updates and patches to protect hacks into customer data.
  • Maintenance of records on all data processing activities, which focuses on data security and individual privacy.
  • Encryption of all data transfers, especially if customers send personal data online.
  • Compliance with firewall configuration policy and test procedures to protect credit card users.

Business owners cannot effectively keep tabs on all the changes in policy and regulations. This inability necessitates the hiring of a vCIO who keeps up with the compliance and tests system penetration and identifies any vulnerabilities. Besides, the expert has a grasp of the standards and alignment that ensure that the business does not face any litigation due to contempt of the law.

9. Competencies and Recruiting of Right Talent 

Going with a remote CIO ensures that you do not miss out on top talents. While you might experience some reservations about virtual CIO consulting, it provides the opportunity to snap up coveted IT leaders. The traditional hiring practice, while convenient, reduces your pool of specialists and might mean that your business fails to enjoy IT leaders. Besides, there is a refocus on CIO priorities. More businesses are looking for professionals with expertise in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and the public cloud. Plus, more business managers and owners, especially in the Los Angeles area, are looking to have a more diverse workforce. Take the leap and find the right fit for your business.

10. Data Mining and Analysis  

To stay competitive, you need the ability to collect and leverage data in your favor. An experienced vCIO can leverage said data for a more successful enterprise. This is especially true for businesses that rely on online transactions. Using the resources at their disposal, vCIOs can customize customer experience, inform business decision-making, and streamline operations. Furthermore, they can use the data to mitigate risk and handle setbacks that the business encounters in this age of online business transactions.

When hiring a vCIO, consider a consultant that has experience in data analytics. With their expertise, capitalize on the data that your business collects. Through virtual CIO consulting, businesses decipher the usage and consumption of IT services. Furthermore, businesses stay up-to-date with the marketing function of IT from service utilization reports.

Business is difficult without taking on the additional task of managing the technological aspect. Overall, bringing in vCIO consulting is the most profitable business decision you can make. It equips your business with an expert-level IT blueprint without the additional cost of having an onsite CIO. Besides, having remote talent has been proven to have a larger return on investment.

A person sitting in front of a laptop during a virtual CIO conference call with four people
Most businesses are taking up remote talent, and as such, your business will be in line with your competition.

Signs Your Business Could Benefit From a vCIO 

  • Your business struggles to meet compliance standards, including SOX, HIPAA, PCI, and other regulations.
  • You deal with high technology costs and struggle with monthly IT bills.
  • Your business lacks a future IT roadmap with the present strategy failing to meet business goals.
  • Staying up-to-date with technology changes is difficult for your team. 
  • You do not have a solid business continuity plan, especially in the event of data breaches and permanent data loss.
  • There is no actionable insight from data collected from your business.

Expectations You Should Have of a Quality Virtual CIO 

Notably, the responsibilities of the virtual CIO vary significantly depending on the business and the field in which it operates. However, most small business enterprises expect that the virtual CIO consulting they get will offer a comprehensive support model. Still, you want to be sure that the vCIO you hire provides your organization with the benefits you need to grow your business.

Qualities to look for in a virtual CIO consultant include:

  • Experience with IT budgeting process. 
  • An understanding of project planning and management.
  • Knowledge of technology trends likely to affect your business.
  • An ability to link IT systems to business goals.
  • Agility as it pertains to adapting to business changes.
  • Interpersonal skills where the vCIO should be able to mesh with your business’s culture.
  • Security and Disaster planning and management whereby the vCIO will actively manage any security issues of the business.

FAQ 

1. What is a virtual CIO?

A virtual CIO provides all the strategic and experiential IT knowledge of a CIO while saving your business the cost of a full-time IT staff member. They work with small and medium companies to leverage technology and bolster business success.

2. What does a virtual CIO do?

A vCIO helps with creating a technology roadmap for your business. This person works with senior executives in the company to understand the business goals and challenges, then formulate a strategy and plan to address them.

3. What is a vCIO responsible for?

  • Providing IT plans and strategies that help SMEs leverage IT solutions to fulfill short and long-term business goals. 
  • Reporting and metrics on the state of the business’s IT situation, thus aiding in decision-making. 

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