For most major corporations, a Chief Information Officer (CIO) plays an invaluable role in the company’s success, especially as technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. A role that once may have required overseeing an internal network of computers and troubleshooting technical issues now necessitates myriad responsibilities including cybersecurity, Cloud computing, business processes, big data analytics, complex integrated software, strategic initiatives and a host of other needs.
The CIO position has evolved with technology to become a strategic partner on a company’s executive team and typically demands the C-Suite salary that goes along with such a level of responsibility.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face a conundrum. They often require the same oversight and guidance that a CIO offers — security, software upgrades, strategic planning, etc. — but are typically unable to afford such a position on their payrolls. In fact, when it comes to cybersecurity, they may have an even greater proportional need for technical oversight because many SMBs are ill-prepared and lack the technical expertise to mitigate the risks.
How Can SMBs Keep Up?
Fortunately, if you’re an SMB, you can still reap many of the benefits that a CIO offers at a fraction of the cost by enlisting the help of a virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO). Unlike other things labeled “virtual” these days, a vCIO is an actual human being that serves on a team of technical experts at your disposal. Instead of being on your payroll, however, this person’s services are offered as part of a Managed IT solution from a technology company, and you’ll have a predictable and fixed, monthly cost. This is especially helpful for forecasting budgets and mitigating the risk of unexpected IT expenses.
When you work with a vCIO, your employees aren’t pulled away from more important, mission-critical functions to help troubleshoot technical issues. Instead, the vCIO and an expansive support system of technicians are available to address problems such as slow computers, connectivity issues, printer errors, software updates and more.
Benefits of a vCIO
Beyond the technical assistance that’s provided, perhaps the most important functions a vCIO performs are assessing a company’s needs and strategizing with leaders to implement technology solutions and processes to meet its organizational goals. Some of those services can include:
- Analyzing your current IT environment and providing a needs assessment
- Determining software and hardware needs and ensuring timely updates and licensing
- Addressing cybersecurity, disaster recovery, compliance and implementing best practices
- Assessing processes related to technology to improve efficiencies
- Providing recommendations for computers, software and other technology to stay current
- Working with an experienced team of technical experts that is available 24/7
- Developing an IT roadmap to look at the big picture and strategizing to see how technology can positively impact your bottom line
The traditional approach to managing IT — by adding technology experts to the payroll — simply isn’t practical for many SMBs. If you’re considering whether Managed IT and the vCIO services that come along with it are right for your business, be sure to check out our helpful comparison guide below. Then, get in touch with us for a free and honest, no-obligation consultation.