What exactly is a vCIO? A CIO, or Chief Information Officer is a senior person with significant knowledge and expertise with respect to technical depth, business acumen, project execution and strategic thinking. This position is typically found in large companies, and the role is beyond the scope and budget of most small and medium business. With a virtual CIO (vCIO), your company has access to the knowledge and experience of a CIO without the expense of having a full-time officer on staff.
Many technology providers claim to provide this service, but often the individuals filling the vCIO role are either too technical with limited business experience, or they are merely sales professionals looking for the next deal. A true vCIO will target the following areas:
Formulating strategic IT goals.
Our vCIO needs to understand how your organization views technology. Is it viewed as a cost center, or as a strategic advantage? With this understanding, the vCIO will determine how to formulate strategic IT goals. Are we simply trying to save money and drive costs down, or do we view IT as strategic, thereby being a bit more leading-edge in our use of technology?
Planning the annual IT budget and projects.
Much if this is driven out of your business & growth goals where budget guidelines are set for different IT areas such as infrastructure, applications, digital transformation, staffing/outsourcing, etc.
Facilitating technology changes.
Technology changes can be painful. The role of the vCIO is to help make them as painless as possible. The vCIO must facilitate open communication and understanding at all levels of a project. Highly technical people are often poor communicators, and the role of the vCIO is to bridge that communications gap.
Knowing what is on the horizon.
An effective vCIO keeps current with industry trends and can determine the difference between “leading-edge” and “bleeding-edge”. Knowing when to invest in the right technology at the right time is critical in this role.
Explaining complex technical concepts in plain English.
This is easier said than done. Business leaders need to understand technology recommendations in business speak with costs and potential return on investment. Many of our customers that have come from other service providers claim we do a better job of explaining technical concepts in language they understand.
During our quarterly business reviews, the Attache vCIO will present a score card that shows your environment against all of our standards as we break down the individual areas, so that you can see where there is room for improvement. This is probably the most tactical role of the vCIO.