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Enterprises of all shapes and sizes are constantly looking for ways to streamline and optimize their business technology. But for busy business leaders, finding the time to make strategic business-IT decisions – in the short and long term – can be a huge challenge. Many Fortune 500 companies and large-scale enterprises have a Chief Information Officer (CIO) on their payroll to make these strategic IT planning decisions. However, more and more businesses – large and small – are realizing the strategic and cost-effective potential of outsourcing the role of CIO to a specialized IT professional.
Let’s start by making sure we clearly define what a CIO and OCIO is. Holding the title of Chief Information Officer (CIO) sounds important – and it is – but developing an understanding for why and how designating a CIO can make a difference within your operational environment is the most important factor.
As mentioned, many large-scale enterprises have a salaried employee to serve as CIO. The CIO’s primary responsibility is to find ways to utilize technology in a way that enhances and maximizes business potential. Additionally, the CIO should be a step ahead of the game – determining effective standards of use and looking into the future of technological innovation to find supplementary solutions moving forward.
With a more clearly-outlined job description, it becomes easier to recognize the specific benefit that a CIO’s direction can offer a business. In the modern, fast-paced, technological world we live in, having a CIO seems necessary for operational functionality. However, this is often much easier for larger companies with more financial resources available to keep a CIO on payroll. That’s where an outsourced CIO (OCIO) becomes a more strategic option.
Simply put, an OCIO does everything a CIO is responsible for including streamlining and optimizing business networks and making strategic IT planning decisions. The difference is that your organization doesn’t have to pay an OCIO an annual salary. You get all the strategic efficiency benefits for a fixed monthly rate. Sounds like a great deal, right? Now it’s time to figure out whether your organization would benefit from an OCIO.
For enterprises who don’t have the resources to keep a CIO on payroll, the first step is conducting a needs assessment to determine if an OCIO is the right fit for your organization. We’ve put together some of the top things you should consider if you’re thinking about hiring an OCIO to manage and optimize technology for your business.
Understand the size of your team and the ways in which that team is organized to fulfill operational objectives. If you’re dealing with a large team, hiring an OCIO is probably a good idea. The more people involved in your operation, the greater your team will benefit from an OCIO. But there has to be a consideration of more than just the sheer size of your business – determining what technology means for your company and how your team uses it is most important.
Does technology play a daily role in business operations? Do you have specific security concerns? What kinds of devices and software applications are being deployed? How often do you require data access and sharing capabilities? In what ways could technology be streamlined to better support organizational missions? Coming to understand the answers to these questions will lay the ground work for finding the right OCIO arrangement.
Where will your business be six months from now? What about six years from now? Having a long-term view of both current and potential technological needs will help you approach growth and development in a proactive and productive way. Further, it will help you understand the kind of OCIO support arrangement that will work best for the long haul.
Reiterate the primary objectives your organization is seeking to fulfill and determine the specific ways in which technological solutions can aid in that fulfillment. Then, think about how a fully managed and optimized network can help you and your team do your jobs more strategically. Envision the ways in which an OCIO could truly be a game changer for your business. Think about the freedom involved when your team is left alone to focus on mission-critical business, while professionals handle everything IT.
Now that you understand both the things you should consider and the potential benefits you could take advantage of, it’s time to develop a game plan for finding the right OCIO. A great first step involves reaching out for professional IT consultation. Consultation with a firm that providers OCIO services can help you get through the leg-work of determining what your technological needs are. Don’t hesitate to ask for help – this is the best way for an OCIO to customize the perfect arrangement for your business.
The consultation process also offers a good starting point for finding the right OCIO provider. Make sure to hire an OCIO who is open, honest, and clear in their consultation with you. They should be able to explain the ways in which their services are worth the investment. This means having detailed plans for how they’re going to optimize your business IT environment and how every aspect of your business will thrive because of it.
If you’re looking for a good place to start your search, may we recommend reaching out to the team of professionals at CIO Advise? Our team specializes in providing strategic and reliable OCIO services for fixed monthly rate. Whether you’re a private equity firm, a rapidly growing business, or simply an organization looking to switch up your approach to business IT, we welcome your calls and are committed to providing strategic consultation in a language you can understand.
If you’re looking to consult an IT expert on the benefits of an OCIO, CIO Advise can help. Reach our team of professionals any time at (813) 328-3743. We look forward to upping your technology game so you can focus on growing your business.