7 Focus Areas of a Virtual CIO

Do you need a Proactive Business Strategist?

The role of the Virtual CIO is a relatively new to business. The primary focus for this role is on strategy.  Companies with larger budgets employ a full-time Chief Information Officer (CIO).  The Virtual CIO is for organizations with budget limitations who still require the 9 competencies of a CIO with a strategic and innovative mindset.

Most mid-market companies employ an IT manager to run the day-to-day operations of the IT department.   What is needed above that role is a Senior Technology Advisor or a Proactive Business Strategist that can review the organizations objectives, align the necessary elements in IT to the business, and keep the team focused on the strategic and tactical maneuvers that stabilize the company in a successful innovative state.  

7 Focus Areas of the Virtual CIO

A Senior Strategic Technology Advisor will help optimize your organizations IT operations, review vendor relations and provide guidance on contracts and service levels that will provide cost savings and efficiency gains, all the while working with your team and executive sponsors on innovations and optimizations that provide quantifiable results.

The Virtual CIO focus is on protecting the organization through developing an Optimal IT Strategic Focus;

  1. Developing a Technology Roadmap to facilitate short and long-term business goals
  2. Security - Working to assure the organization is protected at all levels
  3. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
  4. Vendor, Contract and Budget Optimizations
  5. Reducing Technology Debt
  6. Training, Education, and Awareness
  7. Implementing industry best practices for project management, change management, and help desk operations

The 8th Focus Area for a Virtual CIO?

Wait... there's more!  The 8th focus area for a Virtual CIO is directed at business outcomes.   They will work directly with the senior leadership team in understanding the business's objectives, goals, and expected yearly outcomes.   Including your Virtual CIO in strategic discussions and Board involvement is vital to the success of any organization.

Today's technology permeates through every aspect of your business.  In order to achieve a competitive advantage, Information Technology is required to be part of your overall strategic direction.

The Value Add of a Virtual CIO

The value add is found in efficiency gains, cost savings, visibility and partnership between business and IT along with process improvements.  

The Virtual CIO is not a senior technology specialist (a.k.a. the smartest technology professional in the organization).   Simply understanding your IT department's strengths & weaknesses is not enough to help the organization maintain the competitive advantage that the other departments are working feverishly to achieve.

Effective IT management is crucial for the day-to-day functions of any company. Today's IT management is presented with managing complicated systems, and nearly 100% of their time is devoted to operational concerns. This leaves almost no time for long-term strategic planning, application architecture direction, integration planning, package software selection and more.

This gap between senior management and Information Technology is where a Virtual CIO excels in providing exceptional value.