Value of Tech Insight Rises in Era of Cloud, Compliance and Cybersecurity
By Jodi Madsen, Sales Manager
As a small or mid-size commercial real estate company, what does your c-suite look like? Major corporations typically have a lot of “chiefs” – CEO, COO, CFO – along with a variety of investment, marketing and legal executives. Today many are adding a Chief Information Officer to the list. This position is responsible for charting the corporation’s vision, strategy and goals from a technology standpoint.
In today’s dynamic era of cloud computing, stringent compliance demands and constant cybersecurity threats, it is no wonder companies recognize the benefit of the CIO role. However for organizations with fewer than 150 employees, hiring a CIO may not be realistic. That is where a Virtual CIO comes into play. The vCIO is an outside resource that supplies the broad strategic vision and diverse technological expertise of a high-priced executive, but at a small-business price.
Here are some of the advantages.
- Cost control – Outsourcing the CIO role turns fixed costs into variable costs. Businesses pay for the services they are using, instead of supporting a full-time, on-staff executive.
- Core focus – The vCIO will handle the big strategic tech questions, while the client’s non-tech management team focuses on what they do best: growing the organization.
- Training and experience – The vCIO comes fully trained, certified and experienced. This eliminates any concern about keeping current with the latest technology developments.
- Rapid implementation – A vCIO, as part of a managed IT services package – including full computer and networking technologies consulting, installation and support – will be ready to “hit the ground running” with new installations and upgrades, where rolling out a new solution developed in house would likely require extensive testing or waiting.
- Risk assumption – The vCIO/managed IT services combination also will assume many compliance and security risks. This can help avoid some big headaches in a world of tightening regulations and cybersafety monitoring.
What to Look for in a vCIO
The cost of a vCIO can be covered in two ways. Companies can pay a flat time-based rate or go with a bundle of managed IT services that includes the vCIO. Either way, it will be important to evaluate the provider carefully. Look for:
- Longevity – How many years has the provider been in business?
- Reputation – Who are the provider’s clients and how do they rate their service?
- Relevance – Is the provider certified in the specific technology you need?
- Familiarity – Is the provider experienced in the commercial real estate industry and its issues?
- Capacity – Does the provider have sufficient resources to support you as you grow?
- Flexibility – Can the provider accommodate the peaks and valleys of activity in your business?
Hiring an outside IT service provider is a big deal for an SMB, but it can deliver big results. Managed IT services firms deliver great value in terms of security and efficiency, and it is easy to see why the trend of outsourcing technology functions continues to grow; wrapping in the vCIO function adds a strong strategic element to the mix. With the right partner – one that not only supplies the day-to-day support you need but also delivers from an IT strategy perspective – commercial real estate companies can leverage their technology as a tool for growth and success in today’s tech-centric world.