Why Do Businesses Need a Virtual CIO (vCIO)?


 As technology evolves and changes, businesses must adapt to stay competitive. This is especially true for companies that rely on technology to conduct their day-to-day operations. To keep up with the competition, many of these companies are turning to a virtual chief information officer (vCIO).

What is vCIO?

A virtual CIO is a technology consultant who advises businesses on leveraging technology to meet their objectives. Much like an in-house senior executive, vCIOs analyse the organisation’s technology infrastructure, identify areas for improvement, develop strategies to optimise operations, and recommend appropriate investments. 

Typically, vCIOs are well-versed in various facets of IT strategy, including budgeting, technology procurement, system administration, cybersecurity, and more. With their vast expertise, they can help guide businesses through the ever-changing technology landscape.

Why should you get a virtual CIO?

The utility and advice of a good vCIO offers several distinct advantages for businesses. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should consider hiring one:

1. More cost-effective than an in-house CIO

Large organisations usually hire an in-house CIO to lead their technology efforts, but this option is often too expensive or impractical for small- and medium-sized businesses. For one, the average base salary of a CIO in Australia is over $202,000 per year. Then, there’s the cost of benefits, superannuation contributions, training, and onboarding — all of which add up to a substantial sum.

By outsourcing to a vCIO, businesses get the same level of expertise as they would by hiring a full-time CIO, but at a significantly lower price. A vCIO may charge based on an hourly rate, a fixed monthly fee, or a one-time project fee for their services. You can choose the payment plan that works for your budget and can quickly discontinue the service if you no longer require it. Plus, these services don’t include the extra overhead expenses associated with hiring a full-time CIO.

2. Objective third-party insights

What makes vCIOs a highly coveted resource is their ability to provide an objective perspective of their client’s IT infrastructure and operations. Traditional CIOs tend to work for the business and can favour specific solutions. On the other hand, vCIOs are external consultants with a fresh set of eyes. They can therefore identify issues that easily go overlooked on an internal report, like security flaws, inefficient workflows, or outdated systems. This also means that vCIOs are better positioned to make informed and impartial decisions about their client’s technology strategy and budget.

3. Technology strategy that meets the company’s unique needs

IT needs can vary widely from company to company. Some organisations may have trouble increasing their remote workers’ productivity, while others may require advanced cybersecurity solutions to protect sensitive data.

Top virtual CIOs take the time to understand these unique needs and develop a bespoke technology roadmap to help clients achieve their goals. For example, if your company is struggling with managing a distributed workforce, vCIOs may recommend hybrid working arrangements supported by cloud services and zero trust security. With these tailored recommendations, you’ll know exactly what technology investments and policy changes are necessary to get the results you want.

4. Forward-thinking solutions

Working with a vCIO means being at the edge of innovation. The best vCIOs stay up to date on the most recent technology trends to ensure their clients are well-positioned for success. Of course, a vCIO won’t sell you on advanced new technologies just for the sake of it. They closely study industry developments and competitor strategies to determine which solutions will put you ahead of the curve.

5. Close vendor relationships

The best vCIOs are partners of leading technology vendors like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. These connections enable them to facilitate negotiations and broker deals for their clients to get the best technology solutions at the most cost-effective price. If product issues occur, vCIOs can also work closely with the vendor to resolve them quickly and properly. Most importantly, vCIOs are adept at assessing vendor performance. They can help you move away from unreliable, high-cost providers if necessary.

6. Professionally handled IT projects

From hardware installations to software development, virtual CIOs are experienced in managing complex IT projects. Before a project kicks off, a vCIO determines its scope, sets realistic timelines, and assigns roles within the project team. They also track progress, manage resources, and ask for feedback throughout the project life cycle. This is to ensure every step is on time and under budget. The vCIO will even consider potential risks and contingencies so that your organisation avoids unexpected roadblocks during a digital transformation.

A virtual CIO can have a massive impact on your organisation’s success. They offer access to valuable strategic insights, customised solutions, and expert project facilitation. Empower IT can give you all this and more. With our managed IT services, you can take advantage of our team’s industry experience, technical expertise, and close vendor relationships. Contact us now to sharpen your organisation’s competitive edge.