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What’s a vCIO and Why Do I Need One?

If you want to be sure that you’re investing in the right technology, and not wasting your money on the latest shiny thing or a so-called improvement that will cause a ripple effect of problems – then you need a Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO). It doesn’t make sense for most small and medium-sized businesses to have one of these IT leaders on their staff full-time, but you can get your own fractional Chief Information Officer and that’s where the “virtual” comes in.

Many (although not all) managed IT service providers include the services of a vCIO. The vCIO’s responsibility is to provide a strategic direction in Information Technology for the entire company.

To do that, they develop an understanding of the business’ goals and technology requirements. They examine technology solutions to determine if they can deliver the benefits that are promised. They bring new ideas for how to leverage technology. And in collaboration with technical experts, they plan out IT projects that make sure that everything is compatible with their existing technology.

Benefits that Come from vCIO Guidance

When you work with a vCIO, you’re essentially getting an executive-level consultant who will keep you up to date with evolving technology. Their work with you will provide your company with benefits that bring cost savings, improved productivity, as well as a sharper competitive advantage.

Here are some of the benefits you can expect:

  • IT is aligned with your overall business goals.
  • Costly mistakes are avoided when adopting new technology.
  • Employees have the tech tools they need to deliver a high level of customer service.
  • Executive burden for keeping up with technology is alleviated.
  • Technology costs are controlled with vendor management.
  • Effective cyber risk management brings peace of mind.

Your vCIO Gets to Know Your Business

If a vCIO is going to have an impact on your business, they need two things. They need to know IT and they need to know your business.

Here at XPERTECHS, our vCIOs have deep expertise in IT that spans multiple industries and types of businesses, and they’re familiar with a wide array of technology. They understand that each business has unique challenges, goals and needs, so they spend time getting to know each client’s business.

vCIO’s meet regularly with executives and ask questions that uncover new ways to apply technology to move the business forward. Sometimes they’re even invited to executive and board level meetings to bring an IT perspective to discussions about business strategy.

By understanding a company’s struggles as well as their goals, vCIOs make sure that IT isn’t an afterthought, but that it’s strategically leveraged to improve operations and enable success.

Security Strategy to Manage Cyber Risks

These days you can’t be successful, or even have a sustainable business, if you’re not managing cyber risks. When we onboard new clients, one of the first things the vCIO will handle with the client will be getting all of the basic security layers in place that are needed for a modern security strategy.

Security is no longer a matter of putting up barriers around your network. Your network now expands to all of your connected devices, and you need advanced security tools in your strategy.

After an acceptable cybersecurity baseline is established, they’ll move the security conversation to risks that business leaders may not even have considered, like how their vendors impact their risk exposure, and methods to establish accountability for security with vendors who handle the company’s data.

Related: Download 8 Things You’re Doing in Your Business That Could Lead to a Cyber Attack

Plan and Budget Technology Investments

Many companies don’t know how to budget for IT because they haven’t created a plan. What happens when you don’t plan IT improvements is that you have surprise bills – and surprise downtime – when you suddenly need to replace hardware or software.

When you work with a vCIO, they’ll partner with you to create an IT roadmap that will build a sound technology foundation. They’ll use industry best practices to create a refresh schedule for your hardware and software. This not only allows you to plan for the expense, it makes sure that your employees aren’t slowed down and frustrated when they don’t get the technology performance they need to do their jobs well.

vCIO’s will also step in to manage your network of technology vendors. They’ll get everything documented – from all of your software licenses to when your internet contract comes due – so that they can make sure that you’re getting the best prices and not paying for something you don’t need.

Uncover Opportunities to Improve Operations

While a lot of the work of a vCIO is to make sure that your technology is humming along on the right path, they can have a bigger impact on your business when they help you uncover new ways to leverage technology.

To do this they ask questions that dig deep into your processes on a micro level. They’ll go into each department to look at the tools being used and ask questions that reveal bottlenecks, duplicate work, manual data entry, and complexity.

Then they’ll present technology solutions like business process automation and integrations with Microsoft Teams. Sometimes the solution isn’t a new technology but recommendations on how to better use the technology you have.

As you learn of technology innovations in your industry, your vCIO will help you to vet them to make sure that you’re going to get the benefits that are expected, and that the technology is compatible with your existing network.

Enterprise Level IT for SMB’s Through Strategic IT Guidance

Technology changes every day and if you’re not staying on top of it, you’re falling behind. That’s why here at XPERTECHS, we provide every client with vCIO expertise. When combined with XperCARE managed IT services, the result is that companies get enterprise level IT at the SMB level.

Contact us to schedule a free IT consultation and learn how you can up your technology game.

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