Thanks to the rapid pace of technology development, organizations of all sizes have access to technology solutions for less money than ever before. Small-business technology staff are usually squarely focused on tactical issues. Given today’s market pressures, government and industry regulations and an ever-growing security threat, it is pretty clear that SMBs are no less in need of a good technology strategy than are their larger counterparts. SMBs need a senior technology professional who understands the company’s business objectives and who can provide direction in how to use technology to support those objectives – essentially, someone who can play the role that a CIO would play in a larger company. To be successful, the virtual CIO must quickly assimilate information about a client’s business, assess the technology in place and ensure that risks are identified and mitigated. An assessment project for a management consulting firm looking to overhaul its overall technology infrastructure and business processes. I’ve helped organizations hire the right technology staff, or obtain needed training for their existing staff. I’ve led project teams, developed detailed project plans, written operational or security policies and procedures, suggested the use of key technologies and provided business guidance. The current outsourcing boom is favorable for the virtual CIO, as organizations grow more open to working with external, high-level technology partners. There is tremendous satisfaction to be had in proposing the right mix of technology and process to solve a pressing business need. To me, being a senior technologist in the 21st century means understanding business needs and risk just as much as it means understanding the newest technology and how to implement it. Today’s SMBs deserve the same access to effective technology strategy that larger companies rely on.
Life as a Virtual CIO