5 Ways to Make Better IT Decisions: Use a Virtual CIO

 

Have you ever heard the phrase, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”  

In the evolving world of operating and information systems, that attitude can ultimately lead to disaster. For many small organizations, the limited IT staff or department is usually focused on the tactical issues. Fixing servers, troubleshooting phone systems, and maintaining websites are all time-consuming issues that directly impact business. So, while your staff or IT support are busy fighting the daily IT fires, who has time for the strategic direction, planning, and vendor research needed to boost your organization to the next level and put your IT to work for you? 

That’s where a Virtual CIO provides real value.  

What is a Virtual CIO?

 A Virtual CIO is an experienced, high-level IT consultant that takes the place of a Chief Information Officer to help formulate IT goals and facilitate technology changes. Typically, they are contracted by small to medium-sized organizations that cannot support a full IT staff or CIO. 

Virtual CIOs are often provided as a service by Managed Service Providers like Summit, to align the IT infrastructure to business priorities and improve the efficiency and security of their systems. They have in-depth experience in planning, budgeting and managing the health and viability of your IT assets and can bring in a trusted team of IT engineers who can implement recommendations as needed.

Virtual CIOs are a bargain.

Organizations can outsource this function for a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time CIO. By having a trusted advisor, organizations also can feel confident knowing that an experienced professional has personally reviewed their systems to optimize them, and put measures in place to reduce the threat of security breaches and system shutdowns.

What does a Virtual CIO Service Include?

1.  Strategic Planning

The first thing a Virtual CIO will do is work with the organization’s stakeholders to develop a roadmap to support its growth, goals, and mission going forward. Starting an online store? Switching CRM systems? Need to update hardware or software? Launching a new application? All these needs will be factored into the IT roadmap that guides your path forward. A Virtual CIO can establish a framework to make sure that technology decisions align with business priorities.

 2.  Budgeting

While a roadmap is great, it means nothing if you don’t have the appropriate budget allocated to your plan. A Virtual CIO will assist in developing a budget that makes sense for your organization’s needs and goals. They help you see a comprehensive picture of your expenses, ROI, and recurring spend that allows organizations to maintain control of their costs and ensure their IT infrastructure can support growth.  

3.  Continuity Planning

If disaster strikes, is your business protected enough to weather the storm? No amount of planning and preparation can eliminate all risks. Natural disasters and cybercrimes can be enough to break an organization. The costs of remediation, potential fines and legal fees, or simply the opportunity cost of your system being down for days can take a heavy toll.  Virtual CIOs can help you develop incident response and disaster recovery plans to help minimize the impact and the time required to resume operations.

4.  Site Assessments & Management

Site assessments provide deep insights into how your organization uses data to address gaps or redundancies that may exist in your current technology solutions. Virtual CIOs can assess every aspect of an organization’s technology and provide suggestions for more effective solutions, more secure practices, and opportunities to leverage your IT to better work for you. To get started, Summit Business Technologies even offers a free basic IT security assessment to help you understand your organization’s vulnerability to cyber crime.  

5.  Technology Consulting & Education 

Unless you’re a tech person yourself, chances are the IT world seems to evolve at an unbelievably fast pace. Buzzwords like “blockchain” and “prescriptive analytics” will become increasingly actionable and of value to organizations as their business and markets evolve.   Without IT leadership, organizations often struggle to figure out how to leverage the latest technologies to grow their own operations. Our Virtual CIO consultants can remove some of the confusion and decode the IT speak into helpful business advice, tailored for your organization’s goals. 

Get the most out of your IT Investments

Reactive fixes are a waste of your IT staff’s time and your money and do nothing to help you identify future needs. With Virtual CIO services, proactive solutions ensure that issues are addressed before they become problems, and you have strategic guidance to empower your business.

Contact us today for a free consultation on our Virtual CIO services.  

Or get started right away with a free 10-point security assessment to better understand your organization’s security gaps. 

 

Paul Brophy

Paul, Summit's Network Services Operations Manager, has served organizations in the IT industry for over 18 years. He has extensive data center management experience and loves keeping up with the latest technology. He manages our Support Desk and provides CIO services for several of our clients. Paul was born and raised in Ireland before coming to the U.S. He enjoys mountain biking, tennis and is a wine and whiskey enthusiast.

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