Why You Should Hire A Virtual CIO

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Most businesses have a CEO and CFO but not all have a CIO or Chief Information Officer.

CIOs play a key role in most major companies orchestrating the day-to-day technology needs of the firm. They are vital partners of the management team helping the President or CEO with many forward-looking strategic initiatives.


The CIO's goal is to assess the technological needs for the future both one year, three years and five years down the road. They must plan in advance to purchase whatever systems are necessary, along with maintaining the right staff mix, to ensure the company maintains its competitive edge from a technological standpoint.

However many small companies do not have the financial resources to support a full-time CIO. They may rely on an outside source for computer maintenance or technical support but often fail to build a solid technology plan in line with their business goals.

Smaller businesses may find their business growth stunted due to a lack of technological foresight. They may fall behind competitors who are quicker to adapt to more efficient systems and devices. Their network can even grow obsolete.

Fortunately many IT firms offer a solution to help smaller businesses overcome this issue. They are able to provide a company with a "Virtual CIO" on an outsourced basis. This enables an organization to utilize the services of a team of skilled and experienced IT professionals including analysts and engineers without the ongoing costs incurred by full time staff positions.

A small business can contract for this service once they become a managed network services client of the firm. They can hire the "CIO" to work with them short-term or long-term. The CIO can assist with key business planning that involves anything related to IT. This may include helping with the purchasing of new equipment and software, staffing, networking, mobile networks and other important technology related tasks.

The CIO can help a business with relatively simple to more complex decisions. For example they can help determine if the business needs to upgrade its Microsoft Office software. They can ascertain if a business needs an instant messaging platform or wishes to incorporate video conferencing. They can learn if the business needs a new phone system and make appropriate recommendations.

The CIO may also work with the business on transitioning to an off-site hosted environment and leveraging the latest technological services such as cloud computing. They can also create a plan in line with business goals whether it be for six months or six years down the road.

By meeting with key stakeholders the IT firm can learn about the company's business goals then determine what challenges you are facing with your current technology and what new technologies are available as a solution.

A report with findings and recommendations will be created and presented to the business. It will break these down into phases with approximate costs so you can add them to your budget for execution  in the future.

The Virtual CIO provides smaller businesses and other organizations with the opportunity to operate more strategically. By utilizing an outsourced service a company can plan and budget for ever evolving changes in technology and keep pace with larger competitors. It allows you to become less reactive and more proactive.

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