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The Benefits Of Virtual CIO Consulting Services
As a virtual CIO consulting service, we get this question all the time. My business has only 10 (or 12 or 20) employees, so do we really need a Chief Information Officer or formal IT department?
Many think they can cover their own small business needs without realizing how it will affect the crux of their businesses. In this article, we examine the many benefits of having a virtual CIO consultant, even if you think you're too small for it to matter.
Virtual CIO Consulting Connects You to the Right Technology
There are many facets to how your business operates. Technology is the common denominator among them all. It's felt in your messaging applications, specialty software programs, server access, payment processing, and content management systems. The workflow depends on the capability and dependability of your technology. Managing that and ensuring efficient operations is a full-time job in itself. A consultant can help reduce the workload full-time or project-by-project.
Helps You Think More About Core Business Strategies
We touched on it in the last section, but it's worth emphasizing. Information technology is a specialty skill set that often stretches beyond the training of your team members. Most of your employees will have other job duties and areas of expertise. They don't have the time or the training to balance the technology side with what you're paying them to do. Whatever your core business strategies are, that's where they need to be contributing. Taking them out of those responsibilities to worry about IT spreads them far too thin to be effective in either capacity.
Prevents Losses Due to Cyberthreats
Another reason to invest in virtual CIO consulting services is to deal with cyberthreats. Virtual CIOs keep up with the latest trends in viruses, malware, phishing, and other forms of cyberattack. They're able to evaluate your systems to identify vulnerabilities. Furthermore, they can help audit your existing infrastructure and make recommendations for how to shore up those risk factors.
Last but not least, a virtual CIO consultant can act as an educational resource. It's well-known in the IT world that one of the biggest cyberthreats to your business is the poorly trained employee. In North America, the epicenter for careless employees, user error resulted in 59 percent of the successful attacks launched against SMBs. Virtual CIOs can eliminate that problem by teaching employees about everyday hacks and how to avoid them.
Focuses On Your Insufficiencies
Have you hit Google in the last month or so to run a search like "what is CIO consulting"? There's a pretty good chance it's because you're aware there are inefficiencies in your current workflow. However, being in the daily workflow can leave you too close to be able to recognize what the real problems are. It helps to turn that over to a third-party capable of viewing your efforts with a fresh set of eyes. A big driver of CIO consulting success is familiarizing themselves just enough with their clients to see what others can't. Identifying the insufficiencies empowers you to find new, more effective approaches to productivity.
Identifies the ROI
Much of the good your virtual CIO consultant will do for your business is "felt" in how far you're getting into your to-do list. That can feel good at the moment, but it doesn't go far enough. At least, it doesn't in the boardroom. Fortunately, a virtual CIO consultant can translate those successes into more concrete terms by tracking the return on investment. They do this by first meeting with you to determine the benchmarks that matter to your bottom line. They can then identify the processes that go into achieving those numbers. From there, it's a matter of looking to technologies and workflow processes to limit expenses and increase profitability.
Ensures Everyone Is Working Smarter, Not Harder
A study in 2002 found that most secondary students (74 percent) found the work they were given was "busywork." Busywork is extra work that provides no real educational value. Whether that's actually true is anyone's guess, but the general feeling that students graduate from college ill-prepared for the workplace would support at least the possibility of a disconnect. That's equally true in the workplace, where time is actually money. Your employees gain nothing from busywork but burnout. And business owners end up spending a lot more money with nothing to show for it.
Partnering with a virtual CIO consultant can go a long way in fixing the issue. That's because they can help employees past the rote, mindless activities that are part of an inefficient technology system. As a result, those employees can spend more of their work time on higher-level critical thinking. This takes everyone to new heights.
Gauges Team Skills
Virtual CIOs can look at where your employees are in their training and knowledge. They're able to identify growth opportunities and enhance those existing strengths. Having an inventory of those team skills is helpful to all of your higher-level managers. It also pays dividends for your customers and bottom line.
Lowers Expenses When Compared to an In-House IT Department
One of the easiest business goals to identify when seeking profitability is to cut expenses. Reducing the number of full-time staff eliminates costly payroll taxes and other costs that you have to pay out to ensure regulatory compliance. An in-house CIO and IT department would not allow for this.
Develops a Long-Term Strategy for the Business
Virtual CIOs can help you with technological succession plans. They can help you develop sinking funds, find better deals on the necessary technology to run your business, and manage those action plans once they're set into motion. Without their expertise, you could end up spending a lot more on overbuying or making the wrong technology purchases.
Delivers Better Relationships Between Employers and Employees
Taking business, IT steps like hiring a virtual CIO consultant fits with your business plan and improves the relationships you create with your employees. That's because you're giving them the tools and training needed to do their jobs, eliminating frustrations in the process.
Virtual CIO Consultants Can Help You Rethink Your Business
At some point in the growth cycle, every business has to rethink its actions. They have to implement new standards and practices designed to sustain their growth in the years ahead. That requires a robust and well-thought technological game plan. Something that a virtual CIO consulting service can help you accomplish. If you're ready to hit that next level of growth, contact Integrated Computer Services today!
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