Increasingly, businesses of all sizes rely on their IT strategies for success. Your technology is the backbone of your business and plays an incredibly important role in both your day-to-day operations and long-term success. However, the cost of having a full-time, executive oversee those strategies is often prohibitive. A sustainable strategy is to engage a third party to be the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Chief Information Officer (CIO), but not as a full-time employee. This person or organization brings the tools and experience necessary to perform CIO responsibilities and works to understand the business’s technology needs.
A vCTO or vCIO is a resource who serves on a flexible basis. This consultant formulates strategic IT goals for your company, and then manages an IT strategy and budget that meets those goals, taking the place of a full-time, conventional CTO / CIO.
Whether you have a small internal IT team or have partially outsourced your IT services you will probably benefit from the strategic expertise of a vCIO. Here are some of the key advantages of having a vCIO as part of your organization:
Dedicated Technology Liaison for Your Company
Our seasoned vCIOs bring a level of knowledge and expertise to the job that is very difficult to find elsewhere. A vCIO will fully address your company’s technological needs and provide you with the support and recommendations you need.
It’s this big-picture thinking that’s going to help your organization not only understand the best IT solutions but utilize these solutions to save time and money as well. vCIOs give expert IT consultation and guidance to SMBs.
Using a Virtual CIO For Strategic Advantage:
vCTO can help set strategic priorities, key initiatives, and identify ROI. Technology is complex and it changes fast. Most companies have a hard time keeping up with their core business challenges, let alone managing their technology properly. Even small IT teams are often overwhelmed simply trying to keep internal systems and operations up and running, let alone do any strategic planning.
Many companies are stuck in a rut, continuing to maintain obsolete technology that is hindering performance. But if you’re not using the right technology to help you reach those goals, there’s a good chance a big chunk of your budget is simply going down the drain.
Developing a strategic technology plan can be a complex and difficult task, and not everyone has the skills to do it effectively. You need a third party IT consultant to bring a fresh perspective and latest technological advancements that are going to help your organization meet its goals. identify issues that might have been overlooked and make recommendations about improving or replacing legacy systems and practices.
vCTO will understand your business goals, ultimately turning your goals into a robust, Strategic Roadmap, IT Technology Plan that aligns with your company’s unique needs and vision that will help your organization reach its goals even faster. vCTO will provide a third-party perspective what an organization needs to change for the better.
A vCIO offers more input into the client’s business. Decisions such as pivoting to new opportunities because of changes in technology are facilitated by a vCIO. The vCIO plays a proactive role in building systems to scale — adding new technology to the client’s stack based on their needs. The vCIO might look at unique technology solutions beyond that basic stack. Or the vCIO might look at innovations that its clients now need. The role the vCIO plays here is in helping the clients achieve and maintain a technological competitive advantage.
Improve IT security, Advice on regulatory and compliance matters
For all businesses, security breaches are something to be taken seriously. If your business is on the smaller side, your systems will be an easier target for hackers looking to steal information and access private data. In-house IT teams might not know how to build an IT strategy that fully takes these threats into account. vCIO can offer top-tier security expertise and guidance to your organization to step up your cybersecurity and ensure your systems, infrastructure, network are protected from cyber threats and attacks.
The sophistication of attacks, the technologies designed to defend against them, and the global regulations emerging to address them is evolving rapidly and its very challenging to keep up. Starting with a risk assessment, your vCTO will develop a strategic security plan, that may include security policies, training programs, business continuity planning and disaster recovery, implementing reporting and regulatory compliance, and much more.
Manage your day to day technology direction. Build your team
Just because a vCIO isn’t in the office, doesn’t mean he/she won’t become an integral part of your team. One of the best things about a vCIO is the way in which they get to know your company from top to bottom and provide solutions specifically for you. These experts are able to learn your business inside and out, becoming a valuable resource and team member that you can count on. vCTO can evaluate current team skills and alignment and help you with right sizing IT department with internal and external resources.
IT Procurement & Support strategic vendor relationships
With enormous experience in technology vendor landscape, vCTO can recommend right vendors and technologies that well suited for your landscape.
As a business grows, and the number of devices in the organization needing repair, replacement, and maintenance starts to add up. Procuring new PCs, servers, mobile devices, software and more requires more careful planning. vCTO can estimate usage in your organization, define IT procurement planning and forecasting. Managing expenses and choosing the right hardware is an important consideration that vCTO advises your business on regularly. VCTO can negotiate pricing and complex vendor contracts to realize hard cost savings. VCIO brings significant economies-of-scale to bear in procuring your IT equipment and software licenses. These experts consult with you to identify your needs, budget parameters and make recommendations that are based strictly on the best fit for your business.
Cost and Time savings
When you hire a vCIO, the services you pay for will be scaled to your specific needs thereby lowering your operating. A vCIO allows you to save money while still getting the IT knowledge you need to operate effectively. In addition to cost optimization, a vCIO will also save you a vast amount of time. Bringing on an expert like this will free up your executives from having to manage complex IT issues.
- You save the cost of hiring and retaining hard-to-find, expensive talent
- You can optimize the costs of your current IT environment
- Keep your business secure – most SMBs underestimate the cost of a data breach
How Much Does a Virtual CIO Cost?
Most small to medium sized businesses (SMB) can’t afford a full-time CIO who cost $200K -$300K annually.
While pricing structures vary based on your location, services, and a few other factors, a vCTO generally charges based on either hourly rate of $150-300 an hour OR recurring subscription service could range from $5K to $10K a month.
Steps to Take Before Engaging a vCTO
- Define Scope and expectations.
- Operating Model
- Availability, Service Levels
- Define clear performance metrics
If you have a limited or no IT staff, a vCTO is the path to go. They’ll keep your organization replace obsolete technologies with emerging technologies while lowering Total Cost of Ownership. The vCTO is the bridge between your business and the technology teams powering your digital transformation. In order to grow your business, you’ll want to make sure you hire a vCTO who can keep you on top technology with all of the changes.
If you’re looking for a vCTO or a managed IT service provider, please contact us. We’ll provide you a list of deliverables and a with a free quote and make sure your questions are answered!