Entrepreneurs are always busy – busy coming up with new ideas, busy putting existing ideas into place, and busy realizing their goals as their start-up grows. Most entrepreneurs try to wear a lot of hats. However, if you are purchasing, implementing, and using technology to support your business then you just can’t afford to “go it alone.”
I know many entrepreneurs who pride themselves on their tech-savvy nature and who keep up with tech trends for many different aspects of their business. I think that’s admirable, but I feel it only makes them a better partner for an outsourced CIO. Being “tech savvy” does not help you replace the CIO role.
An outsourced CIO plays a vital role in any early-stage company. This executive helps set up technologies and IT processes which are effective, scalable, stable, and secure. Not convinced yet? Here are 10 reasons why every early-stage company needs an outsourced CIO on the team.
1. Outsourced CIOs Keep up with the Times
An outsourced CIO knows the technologies that have worked well in the past. However, the CIO must also watch emerging tech trends that might benefit your company. The CIO knows when it’s time to make purchases and when it’s time to hold off, which helps you avoid costly mistakes.
Without this guidance it’s easy for an entrepreneur to simply want “the best of everything” for his company, without really knowing what the “best” truly is. Does the company need the technology? Is it better to buy now, or to wait for the next generation of the tech to arrive? Can your business make adaptations to existing technologies to get the same result for less? Your CIO will know.
2. Outsourced CIOs Develop An All-Encompassing Strategy
Your outsourced CIO will look at many things as he or she develops your business technology strategy. Assessing the company’s current needs serves as the first step, but the CIO will also evaluate future needs. It’s also important to assess the technology your competitors may be using so that you won’t be at a disadvantage.
The CIO will then use the information gathered during this in-depth analysis in order to devise a plan which will meet all of your IT needs. Other executives will be brought on board as well. For example, your CMO or CFO might have ideas which will require the acquisition of specific technical tools. Thus, the input of the executive team will be invaluable when it’s time to finalize the strategy.
When this process is complete you will have a strategy which will guide your company not only through its present, early stage but well into the future as you grow, change, and earn more market share. Shared CxO CIOs believe that a good strategy scales as your business does.
3. An Outsourced CIO Can Help You Hire a Talented IT Team
If your business is already at the stage when an in-house IT department makes sense, your outsourced CIO can help you make informed decisions about new hires. This means vetting candidates, and giving you unbiased opinions about applicants. In the end, you’ll enjoy a full house of employees who are a good fit for your company. This means you’ll reduce turnover, which can bring a host of painful and expensive headaches.
4. An Outsourced CIO Cares About Your Success
Any good outsourced CIO stays focused on the ultimate goal: your company’s success. As such, every decision the CIO makes about your IT infrastructure will be made with your business’s best interests at heart. A Shared CxO CIO has no other concern.
A Shared CxO CIO is not concerned with job longevity or opportunities for advancement, as a full-time employee would be. The Shared CxO CIO doesn’t share the concerns of a freelancer, who must angle for long-term income by attempting to renew the contract. The sole focus is on getting the job done right. The lack of any underying agenda is ultimately better for your business.
5. An Outsourced CIO Saves You Money
Early-stage companies are unlikely to have the capital to hire a full-time, permanent CIO off the bat. It’s a good goal to work towards, but is not a prudent use of your budget during the start-up phase. This is because an outsourced CIO can do the same work for a fraction of the price, which is important when money is tight.
An entrepreneur also wants to make sure every dollar spent is spent wisely. Developing a supportive technology infrastructure will be one of the most expensive parts of your business overhead. An expert’s guidance is invaluable at this stage, since it will help you keep your initial tech spend in check. You’ll also be able to get more out of the technology you do purchase, simply because the CIO will have the expertise to help you and your employees develop a solid process which will help you make the most out of every purchase.
6. Outsourced CIOs Work as Part of Your Team
It doesn’t matter how large or how small your organization is. Your outsourced CIO knows what it takes to seamlessly slide into the organization in order to become part of the existing team.
This means your in-house talent will get guidance on the proper way to use all of the technologies available to them. Your IT team will gain all of the knowledge they need to carry out the CIO’s long-term plans. As mentioned, your interim CIO will also work with your current executives so they can reach their goals, too.
The CIO’s tenure with your company may be limited, but he or she will still be a vital part of your organization during the course of that tenure.
7. An Outsourced CIO is a Flexible Asset
Early-stage companies can expect a certain volatility in their initial phases. There are times when you’ll need the advice of a CIO heavily, and other times when you just want everybody to get out of your way. Shared CxO’s outsourced CIOs understand this fluctuation and stay flexible. During busy times, they’ll work tirelessly to meet and exceed your goals. During quiet times, they’ll be available and on-call.
8. Outsourced CIOs Stay Ahead of the Competition
Even the most unique startup faces some sort of competition. In fact, dealing with the competition can be one of your biggest challenges.
Outsourced CIOs identify your biggest competitors so that they may evaluate their technology, IT infrastructure, and operations. That means your own company will be more equipped to better serve clients and customers alike.
Good tech doesn’t just help you compete. It helps you win, too. An outsourced CIO can help you score that all-important victory.
9. A Quality Outsourced CIO is an Educator
Your outsourced CIO will teach you what you need to know about your company’s software, hardware, networking, data storage, and more. It’s not necessary to overwhelm you with technical details, of course. This is about equipping you to make better decisions about technology. When you finally obtain a permanent CIO or IT department you’ll be in a better position to work with them.
If it is necessary to train or educate your IT department in any way your outsourced CIO can take care of that as well.
10. Outsourced CIOs Exit Gracefully
Outsourced CIOs know there may be a time when they’re released. This may occur when it’s time for you to hire a full-time CIO, or when you’ve achieved everything you needed to achieve during this stage of your company’s growth.
A good outsourced CIO won’t take it personally when this engagement ends. Instead, it will be time to smile, tie up loose ends, and ensure that all strategies and tactics are clear, in place, and ready to be followed.
Think your early-stage company is ready for an outsourced CIO? Contact us any time to discuss your needs or to jump right into viewing our rates and packages. You can also find out more about services at our CIO Outsourcing and Advisory page.