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Are your company processes aligned with the technology you have? Have you purchased different software for different things when one software could have been used for multiple things? Do you feel there are technological gaps or challenges not being appropriately addressed? Is your company providing its services or products in the most optimal way? Do you want systems streamlined to meet company goals?
If you have any one of these questions or any others like them, then you may be in need of a vCIO. But is a vCIO just another expense for your company or is it essential to obtaining optimal performance and achieving goals? Here’s what you need to know and should consider.
A vCIO, short for virtual Chief Information Officer, provides all the functions of a CIO that large firms employ to develop strategies designed to leverage technology for optimal business performance. The CIO looks to technology for solutions, aligns it with business needs and goals, and measures its success by establishing metrics. In addition, the CIO keeps informed of all new opportunities and technological developments to ensure the company is up-to-date and on course for success.
Thus, a CIO is vital to an organization’s development, growth, and continued success. The one difference between a CIO and a vCIO, however, is this: resources. A full-time CIO is expensive and requires a lot of resources. You have to provide an office, a workstation, a good salary, and benefits. Those are costs that medium to smaller sized organizations would like to avoid. A vCIO allows these companies to benefit from the skills and knowledge of a CIO without having to put forth the full expense of one. A vCIO can be retained on an as-needed basis, so you pay only for the times you benefit from his or her services. In sum, your smaller company outsources a vCIO and receives larger company executive-level expertise at an affordable basis.
To know the benefits a vCIO would bring to your company, a good starting point is understanding better what a vCIO actually does.
A vCIO is equipped with pretty much the same duties and responsibilities that a CIO is, and these include:
These are the broad responsibilities of a vCIO, and through these responsibilities — if executed well — the company benefits. By leveraging technology strategically and successfully, a vCIO helps the company increase its employee and customer/client satisfaction while also increasing revenue and decreasing expenses.
In this way, the ultimate benefit of a vCIO is this: competitive edge. A vCIO can be that competitive advantage your company has over the competition.
In today’s market, no matter what industry you are in, technology plays a role. And technology is changing and evolving all the time, and with the latter come new opportunities as well and new challenges. No company today should be without an information officer, but so many are, and that’s why so many companies fail to achieve their goals. An information officer brings together technology advancements with company goals, and through this strategic alignment, magic happens.
So the question should really be: do you need a full-time CIO or a vCIO? The answer is dependent on several factors.
There are no straightforward means to determine if your company needs a vCIO or not. You must consider the above factors and weigh your answers. Technology today is complex. Its application for strategic purposes is complex. Its benefits, however, are many. Can a vCIO take your company where you want it to go, and can it do so faster, more efficiently, and more effectively?
Now for the real question: is the vCIO essential to your business? The short answer: yes. But if you are still unsure, ask yourself these questions:
If you answered no to any of these questions, then that can be problematic. A vCIO can ensure that all the above questions are answered affirmatively, and when that’s the case, you can rest assured your company is performing optimally. So, ask yourself now: is a vCIO essential to your company? Then act; do your research and find a vCIO that will fit well with your company.