The rise of the Virtual Chief Information Officer (VCIO) has been accelerated by the pandemic as more businesses, especially SMEs, had to flip their business model and adapt. This led them to realise the importance and reliance on IT solutions more than ever before and that they needed help in the delivery not just now, but in the future.
Leaders now acutely understand the need for IT strategy to sit at the heart of their businesses technology becomes even more important to how we all work and live. Within the SME sector, the VCIO has become more commonplace as new start ups and a younger generation are understanding the importance of technology.
This new priority and focus on technology and the VCIO is refreshing and reflects similar approaches typically taken by business owners when it comes to hiring in Financial Directors and business coaches to help them drive their businesses forward. These ‘bought in services’ help business owners, however, it has become increasingly clear that they must also engage with a VCIOin a similar way.
Put simply, IT and technology should be an essential part of any growth strategy.
When someone sets up a business, they just want IT to work and adopt a system or a piece of tech that is familiar and easy, for example if someone wants to manage workflow, then the business owner could just use a spreadsheet. But as a company grows, suddenly the basics become unfit for purpose and the business starts scrabbling around for more quick fixes – usually complicating matters.
The benefit to a business is that by bringing in a VCIO, their role will be to advise them on technology strategy, not just today, but thinking about how that may fit in the next year, the next five years or the next decade as the business grows.
A VCIO’s advice is invaluable and ensures the foundations of the business are sound while ensuring the IT infrastructure evolves to align with a business’ growth objectives or effective future proofing. Good VCIOs will plan services and help a business architect, implement, and manage the technologies that give them a competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced market.
Most small to mid-sized businesses find it impossible to justify hiring a true VCIO but this hire should take priority over all others. Confidently planning, budgeting, and managing IT requires the guidance of a trained, experienced individual. A VCIO, will become responsible for building a company’s technology systems and arm them for future growth at a much more cost effective rate than a full-time CIO.
A VCIO will create and implement an IT strategy and match it to long-term business objectives with a realistic approach to achieve them. IT infrastructure should grow and evolve as the business grows. The alignment of business strategy and IT is crucial in today’s tech-driven world.
For any Start-Up, SME or long standing business, a VCIO is now an essential hire and should be at the heart of every overall organisational strategy.