• Robert Spencer

Why a Virtual CIO Is The Right Fit For Your Business

Updated: May 14, 2019

In the past it seemed like only the companies ranking on one of the Fortune lists were able to have a CIO on staff. I am here to tell you those days are LONG GONE. Organizations of all size are now able to partner up with a firm that offers Virtual CIO (vCIO) services.

Most organizations rely on existing staff to try and fill the CIO role. I used to be one of those people. This method has great intentions, but it doesn't usually provide the full benefit you need. This is because there is a difference in skills between technical staff and executive IT leadership. The existing technical staff are experts in specific areas of technology. They are good at managing tactical issues. They are good at being doers. A CIO is a seasoned IT leader that has 20+ years’ experience. They not only have the technical acumen but also the business and leadership skills. It is this combined skill set that allows them to understand the pain points of an organization and leverage technology to solve them. They are not seen as an IT employee in the organization but rather as a business partner.

Now that you understand a vCIO is a possibility for your company let’s break down some of the reasons you need one.

With a vCIO you get;

  • Expertise that can analyze your business and build a technology strategy and roadmap. In today’s world technology is running in every aspect of business operations. Because of this, you need an individual that can build a solid strategy that aligns with your business objectives. This takes the ability to listen and understand the needs of the business and identifying solutions to solve those needs.

  • Expertise that understands technology trends. It is easy to get caught up in the buzzwords or latest fads that everyone seems to be jumping into and talking about. Unfortunately, those aren’t always the best use of money for your business. By having someone that keeps up with technology trends, you are able to ensure you're spending in areas that provide the greatest benefit.

  • Expertise that advises on the technology risks to your organization. Understanding technology risks today can be complex. These risks could be from cybersecurity, disaster recovery, privacy, compliance, or another initiative. It is important to have someone on your team that can recommend the risk action your business should take. This risk advisory can make the difference between success and significant impact or cost.

  • Expertise that is accessible to solve your challenges when you need them. You don't have to deal with the hiring process and the challenges I cover below. Instead, you get someone that is ready to work for you right away. At most firms you have the ability to have a team of vCIOs to ensure one is always ready to serve you.

With a vCIO you don't have to deal with;

  • The challenges that come from hiring a full time CIO.

  • The COST from paying an executive recruiting firm to help identify ideal candidates. This is usually in the ballpark of 20-25% of annual salary.

  • The TIME of having to identify, vet, and interview candidates of this caliber. The process for hiring a C-Suite executive can take between 6-12 months.

  • The PAIN of the candidate coming on board and not working out. This can create frustrations and elevated stress for team members. It can be challenging to navigate employment agreements. It can be costly to put together a severance package. Then you get to start the whole process over again.

  • The full labor and burden expense that comes with a C-Suite role. This level of full-time expertise comes at a cost. While it is well worth it, it is hard for most businesses to justify.

Now, before We Go Any Further

Let me just clarify one point. This may article may seem like I am against full time CIOs for organizations. However, this couldn't be farther from the truth. There is definitely a place for this role in businesses, a lot of companies wouldn't be where they are without them. My intent is to raise awareness to businesses of all sizes at the possibilities that now exist for them. These businesses should no longer be thinking "we're too small" or "we can't afford one". The possibilities of what a vCIO role can do for you in your organization are up to you. A vCIO partnership can be;

  • A one-time engagement to solve a particular challenge.

  • A monthly, or quarterly review and alignment of IT with the business.

  • A member of your team that is onsite 1-2 days weekly. The time could be used for leading internal IT or meeting with business leaders.

  • During a leadership transition phase when your current CIO has departed and you need to fill the gap until a full time replacement is hired.

If you are ready to take technology to the next level at your organization, it’s simple all you have to do is...

  • Wondering what the possibilities could be.

  • Wishing you had IT leadership of this caliber.

  • Feeling like you are missing out on technology that can help drive your business.

  • Having doubts about your technology stack.


  • Realizing that you need this level of technical leadership to transform your business.

  • Understanding a vCIO is affordable for businesses of all sizes.

  • Contacting a vCIO service provider and book an appointment.

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