Commonly, the role ensuring IT and business alignment is a CIO. But for many SMBs, filling such a role is not feasible. That’s where a vCIO comes in. A Virtual Chief Information Officer, vCIO, has the important role of understanding how businesses can leverage IT and technologies and offer strategic IT guidance, planning, analysis, and management.
It’s recommended that SMBs work with a vCIO to get the most value from digital tools and services. At NSI, the vCIO service is included for all our managed services clients. Compared to reactive help desk support, the vCIO service converts business strategy into actionable IT requirements for a proactive approach to stopping problems from happening in the first place.
But there are more reasons why your IT provider should include a vCIO. Let’s explore.
1. Achieve Business-IT alignment
Leveraging technology and IT to boost your overarching business goals need tight alignment between business and IT. For most small to medium-sized businesses, this is a tough undertaking without filling the role of strategic supervision.
Luckily, a vCIO is an experienced business professional that knows how to leverage technology to support your goals. And by working closely with you, they will get a broad understanding of what you want accomplished to align technology solutions and budgets to realize that vision.
This alignment involves incentives like an IT roadmap with one, three, and five-year plans, budgeting, getting a grip on security and compliance, and growth activities that include leveraging new technology. For a vCIO, it also means understanding how your staff uses technology daily to improve productivity.
Along with understanding how you currently use technology in your operations, a vCIO’s job is to enable operational improvements in all business areas long into the future.
2. Improve your processes
Improving business processes is like greasing the cogs and wheels of your organization. By getting your internal processes and workflows running smoothly, you can improve your efficiency to achieve your goals faster.
At NSI, process improvement involves:
- Adjusting monitoring, alerting, and remediation
- Adjusting and confirming reporting
- Implementing scripts and automation
- Assessing lingering infrastructure issues
- Identifying, scoping, and starting necessary projects
- Assessing & improving business processes
- Improving service level performance using Artificial Intelligence
Qualified vCIOs look at your whole business to find and capitalize on process optimization and automation opportunities. That means improving workflow management, streamlining your internal processes, making project management smoother, and automation easier to deploy so you can focus on more high-value work.
3. Make smarter budgeting decisions
A reactive IT spending approach is very common for SMBs. If something breaks or acute problems occur, IT gets money to fix it. But often, that only solves the problems temporarily, leading to continuous reactive spending in a critical business area that affects the entire business.
vCIOs work proactively to ensure problems don’t occur in the first place. You get a financial roadmap that ties your business goals with strategic technology plans. The map helps you ensure the best budgeting practices today to get the most value out of your technology now and long into the future.
You also get a clear understanding of where your IT is at now and what investments are necessary to help you realize your visions. A vCIO is your guide to technology and IT budgeting decisions and will be with you every step of the way to help.
4. Increase business intelligence
With business-critical data at your fingertips, you can make more informed business decisions quicker. With a clear and deep understanding of how IT decisions impact your business, a vCIO helps you gather and analyze data fast — helping you increase business intelligence to streamline operations at every level.
5. Make better manage risks and mitigate threats
Cybersecurity is a big topic these days. Especially with the ever-growing threats targeting SMBs at an alarming rate. Qualified vCIOs have a deep understanding of risk management and can communicate technology risks clearly without getting you lost in complex technological jargon.
As a result, you will start to understand what parts of your technology are at risk and what actions are required. These insights and improvement opportunities will be backed up by a detailed analysis of your organizational IT infrastructure, processes, and current security measures.
6. Improve application evaluation deployment and adoption
A vCIO can help you make better conscious decisions about using technologies. And that application implementations ensure the success of implementation projects and that application management gets the most out of technology investments.
7. Capitalize on the smartest platforms
Technology innovations are rapid and constant. Luckily, vCIOs are up-to-date with the latest and greatest and can help your business capitalize on platforms to speed time-to-market, improve your ability to connect with clients, and open up new distribution channels.
A vCIO can help vet new technology and understands how it translates to your business and overarching goals with a wide range of technology expertise.
The upside to hiring a vCIO is huge. A vCIO can help ensure business and IT alignment, improve internal processes and help you make smarter budgeting decisions. You also get better at managing risks, improving applications evaluation deployment and adoption and get help leveraging the greatest and latest in technology. Often for a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time CIO.
If you’re an SMB currently using IT to aid any part of your business, hiring a vCIO is highly recommended to streamline your operations and ensure smart IT investments.
Want a vCIO to help you leverage IT and technology? Let’s chat!