Many companies do not need or have the budget for a full-time CIO (Chief Information Officer). Yet they still have the IT-related leadership needs that this executive role provides. For those companies, a “Virtual CIO” is the perfect option. A Virtual CIO is an ideal solution for any small or medium sized organization, allowing the organization to benefit from a highly trained and experienced consultant, without having to hire a new full-time executive. A Virtual CIO will be able to take their experience and tap their industry connections to work closely with other executives in order to help develop your business.
What is a Virtual CIO?
This person is very experienced in both the business and IT side of technology, and ideally serves as the liaison between Line of Business and IT. One of their duties is to make sure that the business needs of the company are being properly served by IT, both tactically and strategically. Their goal is to position the company to realize a competitive advantage in their use of technology.
How will my business benefit from a Virtual CIO?
Small (<100 PC users) and medium-sized (100+ PC users) business can benefit from a Virtual CIO by having someone to serve that strategic role for the organization without having to pay the full-time salary and benefits that it would take to retain someone full-time. The Virtual CIO should have the strategic goals of the organization in mind, but also the ability to lead when it comes to the tactical implementation necessary.
This is not your typical consulting engagement. We do not just produce some deliverables and leave. We will review them with you in detail, ensuring that all strategic goals are in line. Moreover, the business that engages with us ideally empowers the Virtual CIO with organizational authority and accountability to deliver where appropriate.
What does a Virtual CIO do?
While there are many things that a Virtual CIO can do, below are some of the typical things that our Virtual CIOs do for your organization:
- Technology Roadmap - Developing a consistent and forward-looking technology plan, aligned with business goals and budgetary requirements. Such a roadmap should build on normal IT best practices, but progress to compliance, process velocity, business insight, and business impact.
- IT Budgeting and Staffing - Making IT more effective for your business through understanding your budget and staffing levels.
- Business Continuity Planning - Helping you plan and prepare for disaster so your business can resume operations as quickly as possible.
- IT Strategic Planning and Analysis - Aligning your IT strategy with your business and goals for operations, finance, sales, marketing, etc.
- Executive and Board Reporting - Providing assessment reports of your IT operations and infrastructure to the CIO and Board of Directors.
- IT Assessments - Providing an expert and objective look at where your IT department is now and a plan to get it where it needs to be.
- IT Project Management / Program Management - Experienced project management to keep your large IT projects on track, successful, and efficient.
- IT Executive Mentoring - Ongoing executive-level mentoring to bring your CIO/IT executives up to speed.
NOTE: Our goal in engaging a Virtual CIO is not only to produce the above deliverables, but also to lead your team in the execution that would be required to complete the recommendations.
Why can’t my IT manager fill this role?How much does a Virtual CIO cost?
In short, a whole lot less than hiring a full-time experienced CIO with benefits.
How do I get started?
What we recommend is a one hour, on-site “Discovery” meeting with your IT Manager and at least one key Line of Business executive to review your current environment, challenges, and future goals/direction. There is likely some information that we would request ahead of time, so please contact us to schedule this meeting.
During that meeting, we’ll be taking detailed notes on what we hear, combine that with our experience, and use that to create an approach that we would recommend to you for both your existing IT organization as well as our Virtual CIO services, if you choose to engage us.
We will come back on-site for a one-hour meeting to review that deliverable and answer any questions that you may have.
What does the typical Virtual CIO Engagement Plan look like?
After the initial Discovery meeting and review of our deliverable, we can then create an Engagement Plan. This is basically the plan that we will use for our Virtual CIO to work with your company. This generally ends up being a “tapered” plan – meaning that the first couple months are usually pretty busy as we learn your environment and organization – then our time can be tapered after that to a more regular cadence of visits. Longer term, if things remain stable, it can turn to hourly, with recommended meetings at least quarterly to review where things are at.
NOTE: This “tapering” depends heavily on the results of our work and the goals of the organization. It is very possible that we remain regularly engaged to lead the delivery of key projects – timeline dependent.
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