Every hire a small business makes is important. You want a sales staff that is friendly, knowledgeable and can close/retain sales. You want a human resources staff that is organized, responsive and has an eye for talent. You want an office manager that can greet customers, schedule meetings and organize a lunch order for 20 in a snap.
You also want an IT staff that is in tune with the latest technology, is proactive with potential problems before they break and makes sure your networks are always secure and running, but have you ever thought that person is not a person at all (at least in the traditional sense)?
A major trend in small businesses has been the hiring of a virtual CIO. Instead of a person, a virtual CIO comes in the form of an IT services provider that handles all the traditional roles that a CIO would do, like: incorporating new technologies, managing current systems and ensuring the business is using the best technology for its needs.
Now, I know what you’re saying, “We got a tech guy. His name is Steve. We love him.”
Well, a virtual CIO doesn’t need to replace your tech guy (although that’s an option), but instead can be an added bonus to your company. After all, your company can’t run without technology, so why not cover all your bases? Hiring a virtual CIO might end up being the most important hire you make for your business.
Here are some reasons why a virtual CIO could be a great hire for your business:
Save Some $$$Virtual CIO’s provide technology services at a flat rate, so you won’t be nickel and dimed for every little thing that goes on. That price becomes something you can budget for like paying rent on your building. At the same time, a virtual CIO can offer around the clock instant service, fixing problems faster than an in-house service. Less downtime means more time your business is operational and bringing in money.
A Fresh LookSometimes business can get so involved in their day to day operations that they lose sight of the bigger picture. That can be the case with the technology they are used to everyday. A major benefit of virtual CIOs is they bring a fresh perspective backed with experienced professionals. They know what works and can look at your computer systems objectively to help you find what’s best.
Knowledge BaseAs the previous point alluded to, virtual CIOs know their stuff. Listen, technology is complex and it changes rapidly. What is hot today is useless tomorrow and what you thought was hot four years ago was never good in the first place. Before you make a technology investment, you want the most information. Sure, an in-house tech person can give you guidance, but their knowledge will be limited at best. A virtual CIO can provide you with the latest industry trends to equip your business to be on the cutting edge, giving you an edge over your competition.
Long-Term PlanningIf you hire a virtual CIO you don’t have to worry about them leaving. They won’t be getting another job, they won’t join the Peace Corps, they won’t decide to suddenly become a chef. No, a virtual CIO is a long-term partner that can help you plan for the long haul. Is it the right time to make a big technology investment? Is the new technology worth it or should you want for something better to come along? Do you really need to refresh your computers or can you wait another year? These are all things a virtual CIO can help with to help you make long-term decisions to benefit your business.
A virtual CIO can become an extension of your business to help scale and move with your business. Keep these points in mind when you are deciding on allocating your IT budget and understand if hiring a virtual CIO is right for you.
Have you had a virtual CIO in the past?