The good news for IT and computer professionals is that by next year there will be 1.4 million jobs available. The bad news is, according to Code.org, colleges will only graduate 400,000 computer science students to help fill the new jobs available.
For small and medium-sized businesses, competition will be fierce to fill technology roles, especially for Chief Information Officer (CIO) or similar leadership positions. In fact, according to CompTIA, a leading tech association, two-thirds of organizations face a serious gap in their technology departments because of labor supplies, salary demands, or geographic location.
One of the most common solutions to the IT labor shortage is outsourcing some or all of an organization’s backend technology services to a Managed IT provider. A good Managed IT provider can install, manage, monitor, and defend an IT infrastructure. But what about helping an organization develop a comprehensive, forward-looking plan for growing your business with technology?
We believe that a vCIO can fill the gap many organizations face in strategic technology and business planning. A vCIO, as its name suggests, is a virtual CIO – it’s a person who can act as an organization’s chief information officer and performs all the duties that this implies. This includes –but is not limited to– IT resource planning, regulatory compliance, implementing support services and business continuity planning that will help companies focus on their core competencies.
Job Description: Jack of Many Trades
A good vCIO is more than just an independent contractor. Like an in-house CIO, the vCIO manages a mix of strategy and operational execution. This individual must have the skills necessary to understand current technology trends and be able to build mutually beneficial relationships with other technology or information leadership. This person needs to manage complex projects, and, when needed, help address issues or inefficiencies as they arise.
A vCIO helps guide our clients in any technology decision, whether it is related to services from GFC or not. We commonly advise our clients on items such as finding a new phone system or phone service vendor, evaluating Internet Service Providers, helping clients with the technical questions of their annual compliance audit and make informed decisions on a new ERP or CRM solution. In other words, anything that a CIO or Director of IT would normally be involved with in larger organizations.
So How Does That Work?
There is no typical day for a vCIO. But on any given day, our team of virtual CIOs will probably be doing any of the following tasks:
GFC’s vCIOs hold regular business review meetings with clients to keep the technology roadmap current and help with any new business goals not previously reviewed. We call it a Strategic Business Review, but the important part is to provide a roadmap with specific targets to meet. The reviews are a part of their work as an adjunct executive to our clients’ leadership teams. They develop a technology roadmap that aligns their priorities and business goals with technology and meet regularly to ensure targets are being met.
Of course, no plan survives first contact with reality, so vCIOs are always available for ad-hoc strategic technology discussions. Clients have questions and new ideas frequently and a vCIO needs to be ready to discuss those plans and concerns as they arise.
One thing our vCIOs monitor closely is cybersecurity. We understand that cyber-risks are not a daily concern for many small or medium sized companies. Our vCIOs work with our clients’ employees to help them maintain their cyber security awareness skills and alert them to new threats that may arise.
As anyone in a modern office knows, your computers, printers, mobile devices and software are essential tools, and the minute one stops working, your day can be ruined. vCIOs develop lifecycle management plans for clients’ server/workstation/technology hardware needs. Devices and software are upgraded on a regular schedule or on the fly, in the rare case when something fails unexpectantly.
A Real Person for a Virtual Role
Organizations often have way more business opportunities than they realize. A vCIO with the right technical skills, business experience, and people skills can deliver a systematic way to assess and boost the company’s performance. A good vCIO will get to know your company and your people so that they can help identify these opportunities and deliver short term gains as well as long term success.
If you’d like help with strategic technology planning, reach out to the Gordon Flesch Company. We’ve got the expertise, tools and technology to help provide the most robust security possible through Managed IT, Enterprise Content Management systems and a dedicated team that manages systems 24/7.