Virtual CIO Services: Effective and Cost Efficient
A Virtual CIO, sometimes referred to as a vCIO, is a contractor that a company can hire to serve as a chief information officer instead of having a permanent CIO on staff. They’ll perform all of the duties one would expect of a CIO, such as working hand-in-hand with IT departments to formulate IT goals and plan relevant budgets.
For larger companies, a full-time CIO is usually a must, but even then, companies will often bring in vCIOs to help with a big project. For those who afford a full-time CIO, a vCIO can be beneficial in multiple ways. For one, a vCIO can help in all the ways an in-house CIO would help, but with a different perspective and different levels of training. Secondly, getting outside help can save money in the long run. Read on to find out just how a vCIO can help your business.
Most qualified virtual CIOs have run a business (if they’re not still doing so while contracting out) and have experience as a project manager. This gives them the expertise needed to come in and assess your IT landscape and form goals that are achievable, effective, and within the budget. They themselves are their business, which means it’s in their best interest to stay on top of any emerging technologies and trends in the information technology field. In many cases, a vCIO will have more and better training than an in-house CIO. (LinkedIn)
Virtual CIOs are contractors, which means that they offer their services to a number of businesses. This means that they have varied experiences, something you generally wouldn’t get with a traditional, full-time CIO. While a full-time CIO might be an expert at that particular company, in that particular industry, a vCIO will have done work for several companies across multiple industries. This helps them to think outside the box when problem-solving. A vCIO might propose a solution that a traditional CIO would never even consider because their experience is much more limited in scope. (Wooden Spoon)
An Outsider’s Perspective
Building off of the last point, because a vCIO isn’t a permanent member of your company, they’re going to bring a different way of thinking to the table. While your staff is perfectly knowledgeable and greatly excel in their given fields, they’re also immersed in your company’s culture and attuned to a certain way of thinking. A virtual CIO is on the outside looking in, so they might see something that your in-house CIO overlooks. It’s the benefit of bringing fresh eyes into a situation, especially when those eyes are objective and neutral. (Wooden Spoon)
In pretty much every case, hiring a contractor is considerably less expensive than hiring someone full-time. You don’t need to worry about salary, benefits, vacation pay, sick pay, or anything else that comes with a full-time position. The truth is that many smaller companies can’t afford to have full staff, so bringing in a virtual CIO makes financial sense. Most vCIOs scale their costs with the size of your business. If you run a small business, that means less work for them, so they’re going to charge less. You don’t have to worry about overhead, training, or anything like that. And, as mentioned above, their training is probably more extensive than what you could afford for your own staff. (SBTPartners)
Of course, there are plenty of benefits to having an in-house CIO, but even if you can afford one, it’s worth considering the outsourced alternative. Most vCIOs charge a flat monthly fee, which makes it easy to budget. If the vCIO encounters a problem that they can’t handle and they require additional research and training, they’re using their time and their funds. You’re not going to be surprised by hidden fees or unexpected costs.