What is a Virtual CIO and Does Your Business Need One?

Large businesses and organisations often employ a full-time chief information officer (CIO) to formulate and implement their technology strategy, thereby enabling them to make the most effective use of the tech at their disposal.

However, for small and medium-sized enterprises and not-for-profit organisations, employing an in-house CIO on a full-time basis is simply financially untenable. This can put them at a serious disadvantage compared to their larger competitors, as it’s likely to mean they aren’t getting the most out of technology.

To redress this imbalance, Solsoft offers a virtual CIO (vCIO) service, giving SMEs and non-profits access to impartial technological expertise at a much more affordable price. But what is a virtual CIO – and does your business really need one?

What is a virtual CIO?

A virtual chief information officer, or vCIO, is a professional providing strategic guidance and advice to businesses and organisations regarding their technological needs. A vCIO therefore plays a similar role to a regular CIO, but on an outsourced or freelance basis.

Hiring a third-party vCIO is much less expensive than recruiting a regular CIO on a full-time, permanent or contractual basis. This allows smaller organisations, including SMEs and not-for-profits, to get access to strategic IT expertise at a fraction of the cost.

Why your business needs a virtual CIO

Having the strategic know-how of a virtual CIO can boost your business or not-for-profit organisation in a variety of different ways. Here are some of the main reasons why your organisation needs the help of a vCIO:

  • Expertise: A virtual CIO can provide small and medium-sized organisations with strategic guidance in their IT decisions, at a much lower cost than hiring an in-house CIO. This gives these organisations access to expertise in areas such as IT strategy, infrastructure planning and cybersecurity which they might otherwise struggle to afford.
  • Affordability: Recruiting a CIO on a full-time basis can be prohibitively expensive for smaller organisations. Bringing in a virtual CIO enables these organisations to make more effective use of IT by providing them with specialist knowledge at an affordable rate, which can help them stay competitive in their market even against larger and better-financed rivals.
  • Strategic planning: Having the expertise of a vCIO to hand can help businesses ensure that their IT strategy is aligned with their wider business objectives. This way, IT investments are geared towards supporting the wider business strategy, facilitating long-term, sustainable growth through IT roadmaps and identifying the right tools to support business objectives.
  • Keeping up with new tech: For non-specialists, it can be difficult to work out which IT infrastructure and tools you need, given the sheer variety of different options on the market. A vCIO can help cut through the fog, guiding businesses on recommended technologies and solutions as well as their implementation.
  • Cybersecurity and risk management: Cyberattacks and data breaches are an ever-present danger for businesses and not-for-profits today, and it is essential to have robust cybersecurity protections in place. A vCIO can guide you in this area, providing an expert view on how to implement security measures and develop disaster recovery plans.

IT can make a huge difference to any business or not-for-profit organisation. It can enhance efficiency, cut costs and drive growth, enabling you to serve the people your organisation was established to serve at an even higher standard than before.

This is where the assistance of a virtual CIO can be invaluable. A vCIO can provide you with strategic insights and expertise, empowering your business to make the most efficient and effective use of technology to help take it to an entirely new level.

What is clear is that organisations which don’t have this kind of strategic expertise on hand are at risk of losing ground to their competitors. A vCIO, therefore, can give you the kind of advice you need to make your IT budget go further and ensure that you get a genuine return on your investment.

At Solsoft, we offer a vCIO service that provides access to strategic IT expertise at affordable rates. Because our vCIOs don’t take commission, they can provide entirely objective guidance to elevate your organisation. Get in touch with us today to find out more.