Nowadays, “virtual” has become a very common prefix being used to describe a variety of subjects: virtual reality, virtual DJ, virtual tours, virtual classroom. In this era of digital transformation and stiff competition, more small businesses are opting for vCIO services to provide them with the same senior expertise as a CEO, CTO, or CIO of a big company.

If you’ve not experienced managed services in your business, it is possible that the acronym vCIO might not mean a lot to you. However, a Virtual Chief Information Officer might be exactly what you need to take your business to the next level. Here is everything you need to know about the virtual chief information officer and the benefits this service might bring to your business. 

What Is a vCIO?

A virtual CIO is basically a contractor or representative from a company that serves as your company’s chief information officer on a more flexible basis. This simply means that a vCIO isn’t exactly a part of your business’s in-house team. 

As part of a managed service, the virtual chief information officer will do most of what an in-house CIO does without your business spending a lot of money on hiring, benefits, development, and other expenses associated with hiring an internal, upper-management employee. Most virtual chief information officers are usually hired through a reputable IT consulting service firm. Here are just a few things that you can expect to get from virtual CIO services. 

Technology Leadership

A Businessman Is Touching an Abstract Space. Compute Science, Technology, Business, Internet Concept.

There is no denying that most IT teams out there often lack leadership and direction. As a business owner, you need to understand that without proper leadership even the best equipment and security won’t drive your business forward as you intend. 

A virtual chief information officer studies all your company’s processes and develops the most efficient strategies to help your team overcome some of its biggest challenges. 

Vendor Management

Usually, when you bring on a vendor into your business, they become one more account to manage. However, when you hire vCIO services, they’ll do all the heavy lifting when it comes to managing your business vendors and will be in charge of discussing and approving vendor negotiations. 

Additionally, vCIO services will approve select IT infrastructures in order for your business to afford fresh solutions for some of the challenges that it might be facing. This will help make things easier for your business as you’ll only have one vendor to deal with – the vCIO. 

Review and Maintenance of IT Infrastructure 

Regular reviews and maintenance are very important as they keep your business infrastructure up and running while also ensuring security. It is the virtual chief information officer’s job to ensure that nothing is overlooked. This oversight prevents your business from experiencing costly downtime and reduces the likelihood of a data breach. 

New Technology Recommendations

A great way in which your business can move forward is by having access to the latest technological innovations. Virtual CIOs research all the latest technology trends and figure out a way in which they can align with your business’s long-term strategies and objectives. 

Long-Term Technology Strategy

A virtual CIO is responsible for creating a long-term technology strategy for your business that will serve as your team’s roadmap to its big IT goals. When your business has a clear plan, it is easier to know where you stand and what you can achieve with the right leadership and tools. 

Benefits of Hiring vCIO 

Even though a virtual chief information officer performs similar duties as the CIO, you get some unique benefits for hiring vCIO services. Here are just a few. 

vCIO Services are Affordable

One of the biggest benefits of hiring vCIO services is that it saves you a lot in cost. There is no denying that the position of CIO is very common in most big companies, but its salary requirements make it very hard for SMEs to hire one.

However, considering that most small and medium businesses still need IT support, hiring vCIOs is a great alternative. Bringing in a virtual CIO from a third-party IT company will get your business all the IT services it needs and still be able to save a lot of money in the process. 

While some virtual CIOs usually charge a flat fee for their services, some of them only charge on an on-demand basis. This means that your business only gets to pay them when they need their services. 

Virtual CIO Services Offer 24/7 Help

The lifeline of most businesses usually relies on their IT systems. This means that they need 24/7 IT support, which might not be possible with in-house CIOs. On the other hand, you get 24/7 IT support with virtual CIO services since most vendors hire multiple consultants to fill the role. This means that your business gets maximum protection and support. 

Offers Greater Objectivity

In order for your business to succeed, you need to have a fresh face with tech knowledge. Therefore, hiring a virtual CIO for your business provides greater objectivity since they’re not subject to internal politics. 

Virtual CIO services are simply there to offer a much-needed fresh perspective and IT ideas that will put your business ahead of its competition and enhance customer satisfaction. As an outsider, virtual CIO services will provide an objective look at your business’s objectives and what is needed to achieve them. 

Hiring a Virtual CIO Is Simple

There is an ongoing skills gap in the IT sector that has made hiring the right CIO a time-consuming and expensive task. Alternatively, hiring a virtual CIO offers you great flexibility, especially if you’re paying for the services as required. 

You have the authority to hire and fire anyone if their work doesn’t meet your standards without getting the HR department involved. Additionally, you have the freedom to look at their track record and reputation to ensure that you’re hiring the right person for the job.

Qualities to Look for in a Virtual CIO

CIO or Chief Information Officer Concept Presented by Businessman Touching on Virtual Screen

When it comes to hiring virtual CIOs, the precise order of priority varies from one business to the next. However, as a business owner, when evaluating who to hire for this position, there are some qualities you ought to consider. Virtual CIOs should have:

  • The capability to tie IT strategies to business goals 
  • Knowledge of the latest tech trends
  • Extensive knowledge in IT project management and planning
  • Substantial experience in the IT budgeting process
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Great flexibility

When Should You Consider Getting vCIO Services?

You should consider getting vCIO services when you’re experiencing the following:

  • Lack of backup and recovery plan
  • Cybersecurity problems
  • Desire to spend less money on salaries 
  • Need for IT expertise and support 
  • Challenges coping with IT demand

Get Reliable Virtual CIO Services Today!

Most small and medium-sized businesses would benefit from a CIO that’s virtual, especially if they don’t have the budget to spend on a CIO. If you are looking for reliable vCIO services for your business, contact us today at Frontier Business Products. We can provide you with optimized workflow and the best IT management solutions for your business.