As technology becomes more and more important to businesses and their bottom lines, information technology budgets are going to continue to grow. That may be no big deal for larger enterprises with plenty of capital to invest in IT expertise. For small or medium-sized businesses, though, the rising cost and importance of IT poses a dilemma. Do you go without a CIO (chief information officer) and try to disperse IT responsibilities among other employees and executives? Or do you bite the bullet and spend big to hire and support a CIO and a full-time IT team within your company’s already bursting budget?
Luckily, these two options aren’t your only choices. On the contrary, there is a third option, and it’s easily the best choice for the average SMB: outsourced IT.
Along with the increased role of technology in the business sector, it has become more common for high-level IT experts to offer their services on a part-time, contract, or virtual basis. From hardware and software updates to cloud migrations to long-term IT strategy, many modern businesses are leaving their key IT responsibilities in the hands of virtual services or players.
Here are seven key benefits to using virtual CIO services to handle your company’s IT needs:
- Monetary savings: According to Robert Half Technology, the average CIO carries a salary between $157,000 and $262,500. Add the cost of headhunting, interviewing candidates, paying for benefits, and other typical hiring and onboarding expenses and you have a proposition that is costly for any business—especially SMBs. By outsourcing CIO services and only contracting a virtual IT expert when you need one, you will save a considerable amount of money without going without executive-level IT knowledge.
- Access to skills and expertise: In this day and age, it’s likely that the people on your internal team are at least tech literate. We all use computers, devices, email, and software so often that you can probably accomplish simpler IT tasks in-house. However, what your employees probably don’t have is the kind of high-level experience or big-picture expertise that a C-suite IT executive would bring to the table. As such, there probably isn’t someone in your organization who is equipped to establish smart policies for IT budgeting, resourcing, security, and disaster recovery. Using a Virtual CIO service, you get access to individuals who have the skills and expertise to handle these vital roles with confidence and assurance.
- Neutral third-party viewpoints: Whether your needs involve assessing a current IT infrastructure, solving a pain point, or implementing automation within your organization, sometimes your internal executives can be too close to things to view them objectively. With an outsourced CIO, you get a neutral third-party viewpoint. An outsourced CIO can help you see things objectively—regarding sheer efficiency, cost savings, or security—in ways that will substantially benefit your company’s bottom line.
- A wide range of ideas: Part of the reason that outsourced CIOs are so good for helping your team see things differently is that they’ve put their services to good use for dozens of organizations. Every company does IT a little bit differently, and a virtual CIO can take this wealth of ideas and come up with an innovative solution that you maybe haven’t thought of yet.
- All the IT help you need: In a full-time role, a CIO is usually responsible for planning the high-level aspects of a company’s technological infrastructure, from software to security and beyond. The organization then typically also has a multiple-person IT team that is responsible for more on-the-ground stuff, like updating software and just generally making sure everything is running smoothly. Many of the companies that require a Virtual CIO service also don’t have enough technology needs to merit hiring any IT staff as well. Luckily, most companies that offer virtual CIO services can also handle the lower-level responsibilities usually taken on by the IT team—from supporting your company’s networks to troubleshooting issues with your website.
- A teamwork mentality: Some organizations like the idea of saving money by outsourcing their CIO services, but worry that a virtual CIO won’t be an integrated part of their team. Sure, hiring an internal CIO is costly, but you get someone who learns your business inside and out and truly becomes part of the team. Can you get that through outsourcing? Ultimately, it depends on what Virtual CIO service you choose. However, the best outsourced CIOs will take the time to learn everything they can about your business. So, long as you do your homework to find the right person or company, you will get a CIO who considers themselves a part of your team—even if they aren’t a full-time employee.
- Evolution of your tech infrastructure: If you forego a CIO, your internal team might be able to handle the day-to-day management of your current tech infrastructure. The problem is that you will risk the long-term development of your enterprise’s information technology side. You need a CIO to make decisions about long-term IT strategy. Over time, hardware and software become obsolete, security infrastructures develop gaps, and company processes become inefficient. Having a CIO is essential to making sure that your company is moving forward and staying ahead of these changes. Outsourcing can give your business the capability to move forward without costing you more than you can afford to spend.
Don’t let your business get left behind by the rapid evolution of technology, or buried under the growing costs of information technology. Instead, consider outsourcing some or all your IT strategy to a Virtual CIO service. As you can see from the benefits listed above, your business has much to gain from using an outsourced service in this department. Contact us today at 707.523.2222 or fill out our online contact form to see how we can help you.