Your company finds itself in a bit of an IT quandary.  You are too small to afford a high-priced technology executive.  Yet, you are growing too fast to continue forward without some strategic insight.

Many companies try one of a couple tactics.  It is easy to promote somebody from within who has proven loyal and produces good quality historically.  Or, hire from the outside a person with great aspirations, but limited experience.

Making either type of decision due to financial constraints can match inexperience with an overwhelming agenda.  Inevitably, the Peter Principle shows its ugly face and nobody is satisfied.

What is a Virtual CIO?

Traditionally, companies hire employees.  This is simple to understand.  If your company needs a certain skill set, you place an ad, interview candidates, and hire the best person for the job.

But, technology is not your core competency.  Yet, it is a critical aspect of delivering business in the 21st century.  And, it requires a varied set of skills to cover things effectively.

Think about preparing your corporate taxes.  It does not pay to keep a tax account on the payroll year round.   However, when filing taxes, you reach out to somebody on the outside with a specific set of skills.

Similarly, a virtual CIO is a part time (or fractional time) contract employee in charge of your technology strategy.

Can You Outsource Strategy?

It is easy to argue against outsourcing your company strategy.  Naturally, you want somebody with “skin in the game” when it comes to making big decisions.

Conversely, if your company has a strong sense of direction but lacks the know-how to deliver, is it such a bad idea to outsource innovative ways to execute? 

A virtual CIO applies years of knowledge and experience in combination with your needs to define a strategic path forward.  If invited to be a partner at the table, they can often suggest alternative strategies and stretch the team to think beyond their self-inflicted limitations.

And, remember, a virtual CIO makes their living based on reputation alone.  Any misguidance at an executive level can become career crushing.  In other words, their livelihood rests on keeping their clients best interest up front.

You Get What You Pay For

Can money be saved by engaging a virtual CIO… absolutely!  But, compared to what?

Bringing in a virtual CIO is about the benefits of a highly-skilled technology professional for a percentage of the cost to hiring one full-time.  It provides for mid-sized market organizations to reap the benefits of IT leadership without breaking the bank.

Alternatively, it is possible to hire a full-time employee within your budget, but at what skill level can you afford?

Additionally, if technology is not a core part of your business, do you really need the overhead of keeping a technology executive on your staff?

Progressive and successful companies are having to think differently.  Technology is now a critical component.  Do not sacrifice your strategy or view your strategy through the lens of short-sightedness.  Engage with a virtual CIO who can take your company to new levels of efficiency and growth.