By Anthony Smit
Most start-ups and SMEs can’t justify a full time, highly skilled, expensive and experienced senior IT executive, usually called either an IT Director, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or a Chief Information Officer (CIO). However, what they do very much need is a person who manages the IT team, diagnoses areas that need development – be it people, processes, or platforms – and who gives the overarching IT strategy for IT to support business goals. That is where part-time, contract, and interim CIO services come in. These services are often referred to as Outsourced CIO, or CIO as a Service.
An experienced outsourced CTO or CIO is pivotal to sourcing and implementing the required strategy and technology that aligns with the business’s objectives, to ensure customer expectations can be satisfied, and the business can grow.
What is a Chief Information Officer? What benefits do CIOs bring to SMEs? How will outsourcing a CIO save money and improve efficiency? All of these will be answered. But first, let’s understand what outsourcing is.
What is Outsourcing?
In a world that is becoming smaller through technology that now connects us to every part of the world, we have more access to diverse skills sets than ever before. Better than paying for the cost of hiring full-time talent, or the commitment of a permanent employee, outsourcing allows organisations to access a vast talent pool, as and when needed, from any place in the world. You get all of the benefits, without the risk or an ongoing salary commitment.
Here are some of the benefits of outsourcing.
- No need to hire more people. Typically an outsourced resource will come on board as a contractor or consultant, either for a single project, for a few hours a week or month, or on a retainer basis that is set at a capped time or value. This saves organisations the costs of a full-time c-suite employee, as well as additional costs such as health benefits, pension, training, etc.
- Access to a limitless talent pool. When hiring an office-bound employee the talent pool is limited and local. With outsourcing, the talent pool stretches across the globe, and is particularly useful for specialised skills or if you are looking for those with executive-level business skill sets.
- Price/Quality: The best of both. Talent with scarce or in-demand skill sets often come at a high price, but SMEs often don’t have enormous budgets. However, you also don’t want to compromise on quality. Outsourcing gives the best of both worlds – access to the right talent, made more affordable because it is on-demand and not full time.
What is a CIO?
Most non-tech organisations are technology-driven, meaning they use computers, systems, and networks for their employees to carry out their core functions. The rapid pace of development in technology places a real burden on organisations to ‘keep up’ in order to not be left in the dust of progress or their competitors.
This is why the position of Chief Information Officer was established. To handle the business’s technology needs from an executive management level, giving the final ‘yes or no’ on technology trends, policies, and procedures that are essential to developing or supporting a company’s products and services.
A mix between Chief Information Officer, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Technology Officer and Chief Experience Officer (CXO), today’s CIO is involved with the technologies supporting information and knowledge management, setting up IT business strategy, and is explicitly responsible for understanding how innovations in technologies can impact the business.
Six Significant Benefits of Outsourcing a CIO / CTO
Here are six key ways your company will benefit from outsourcing a CIO:
- Improves processes and efficiency. A CIO provides meaningful insight that improves internal processes, helps staff and systems be more efficient, and supports seamless communication.
- Rapidly matures junior IT teams. An executive-level CIO can mature the IT environment significantly, and create a stable, committed, always-learning IT department that is geared towards ongoing growth.
- Uses technology effectively. A CIO can recommend, implement, or manage new technology that automates mundane, repetitive tasks and improve workflows, all the while streamlining operations and reducing waste and labour costs.
- Eliminates roadblocks and bottlenecks: A CIO analyses your company’s internal policies and procedures for a holistic diagnosis. These insights expose the areas that are slowing down the organisation and wasting money, plugging the holes for an improved bottom line.
- Keeps you competitive. Innovation in technology continues at a rapid rate, and if your organisation doesn’t keep up, your competitors might overtake you. A CIO ensures you have access to the latest relevant technology innovations and that your employees are trained and use tech to their fullest advantage.
- Protects your investment for the future. A CIO provides strategy that aligns the right technology and processes with critical business’s goals and objectives. They implement technology that empowers organisations to reach short term goals, and prepares the company’s IT architecture and people to sustain business growth well into the future in order to meet long-term company objectives.
Why you should choose Tandem CIO as your Outsourced CIO
Finding the right outsourcing partner for such a key role is tricky. You need someone who has years of experience, is abreast with the latest trends and policies, and who has a willingness to adapt to your unique business scenario.
More than that, you need a resource that is flexible and available.
With years of experience at an executive IT level and a real passion to produce a ROI from your IT department, Tandem CIO also allows you to set the pace, duration, and requirements that suit you best.
Tandem CIO offers organisations the following services:
- IT Strategy Development
- IT Leadership Development
- IT Diagnostics for people, processes, and technology platforms
- Internal Core Process Improvement
- Governance and Compliance
- And much more!
Get CIO services