Many small- and medium-sized business (SMB) don’t have the resources to have a full-time Chief Information Officer (CIO). An IT consultant can fill this need with a virtual CIO (vCIO), providing the high-level vision and guidance needed in businesses today. Here are five significant benefits of using a vCIO.
Benefit 1: Leading-Edge Expertise
A vCIO is an experienced, high-level IT expert whose job it is to follow and understand all of the latest trends and technology in the IT world. It would be nearly impossible for a CIO at an SMB to keep up with all of the options and opportunities available for the business. He or she is likely to have a small staff and get bogged down in daily IT operations, without enough time to take a longer view. An enormous variety of IT challenges exist in sales, HR, finance and manufacturing, and identifying and implementing the right mix of solutions requires a true expert. A vCIO can provide that, especially for an SMB.
Benefit 2: Flexibility
It is quite possible that the IT strategy requirements at an SMB will vary significantly over time, so it’s a great option to have a flexible vCIO whose time can be allocated as needed. A vCIO is sometimes referred to as a “fractional CIO,” which is when the outsourced CIO does not need to be full-time. This flexibility is one means for an SMB to keep its IT costs at the appropriate level.
Benefit 3: External Point of View
A vCIO also brings the benefit of an external point of view to your executive team. Along with IT expertise, the vCIO can provide insights on a wide range of business issues, especially since he or she has likely provided vCIO services to many different companies. That background would be an additional asset to your company, much like having an extra board member’s insights.
Benefit 4: Infrastructure Cost Saving
With a vCIO, you are likely to have more access to the lowest cost solutions. For example, a vCIO would be an expert in cloud services, and that can provide a tremendous savings over internal servers and other hardware that an internal CIO might select. Because of that breadth of experience, a vCIO can pull from a greater variety of low-cost solutions.
Benefit 5: Personnel Cost Saving
Hiring a C-level executive to is an expensive proposition — if you can even find the right person for the job! With a vCIO, you won’t have all of the overhead expenses of another full-time C-level person, and we know that those extra costs for an executive can be significant. Outsourcing is a very effective cost-reduction strategy for many functions in nearly every business, and the CIO role is no exception.
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