The Albino Peacock of ICT
Information and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the platform on which today's business success stories are built. Large corporates, enterprise and government agencies invest heavily to secure the right people to manage, operate and further develop their information and communications systems. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is a vital cog in the C-Suite and consequently has a strong influence on organisation-wide direction and decision making.
ICT is an incredibly complex category and a rapidly changing beast, where on any given day a global giant, a telco or a start-up in a garage could introduce a new technology or service that can make today’s best practice tomorrow’s white elephant.
At its very core, the CIO’s role is to ensure that investments of time and (lots of) money in information and communications technologies can service the organisation by delivering reliability, flexibility, scalability, integrability and of-cause, security.
All makes sense, right? So, do the same needs apply to a small or medium sized business?
Absolutely, and in some cases, more so.
SME’s are just as dependent on reliable and secure ICT for their day-to-day operations as enterprise and government, and if the SME wishes to grow their revenue, diversify their offering or expand their physical footprint into other locations, their communications platforms, equipment, software, phone and internet plans must be structured to be flexible, scalable and be able to integrate easily with newer, better and cheaper technologies.
…here is the wrinkle.
SME's are competing for talent with corporates who have HR departments and recruitment firms at their disposal, and are paying triple-figures to attract and hold onto the best operators straight out of uni grad programs (which they run). Compare that with an owner-operator sifting through 400 applications from Seek and then conducting interviews to find the right fit when the subject matter is something that the hirer, usually the owner or a trusted lieutenant, knows little to nothing about.
Is it viable for all SME’s to go to market to recruit a recognised high-performing, experienced, commercially astute CIO?
Next option. Hire the computer savvy neighbours daughter who is doing an IT course and can fix anything on an iPhone; or a nephew who spends his days and nights in front of a computer but, according to his mum, would be great at a job if it were something that he was ‘into’.
Cast your mind back and hand-on-heart tell me that you haven’t ever considered one of the above scenarios (or know somebody who has).
Enter the Virtual CIO.
If you are a SME and want your ICT working for your business, it might be worthwhile engaging the services of a Virtual CIO.
Virtual CIO's, are the Albino Peacock's of ICT. Rare and magnificent creatures that typically inhabit a small business, agency or consultancy that specialises in all thing’s ICT on a project-by-project, or ongoing basis.
Predominantly owned, operated and staffed by former enterprise IT or telco communications experts who have moved-on from the nest with a golden-handshake and an exceptional working knowledge of phone & internet carriage options, data networking & equipment, business telephony, phone fleet management, integrated communication & business software solutions, managed services and a phone full of contacts for suppliers, distributors, data network engineers, cablers, telco reps, systems and applications specialists.
Virtual CIO's have generally served on the customer-facing side of the industry for a decade or two. They know how to expertly pilot through the rapidly changing landscape of tricky carriage plans, they understand the players and the game and can get straight to the best deals and payment terms, they easily navigate through non-sensical call-centre menu's and have savant-like command of complex ordering systems and processes.
They have developed or can access excellent tools to analyse your current situation, compare market options and provide recommendations to tweak your ICT services to ensure that they are optimal for your needs. They can consolidate your phone and internet bills and provide monthly analysis with recommendations to ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck. They will manage ICT moves, adds and changes on your behalf… and they love putting things in the cloud.
One of the major benefits of managing your ICT via a Virtual CIO is that the generally act as agents or 'channel partners' for equipment distributors and telco's. This a great news for SME's as multi-layered ICT solutions can be designed by your Virtual CIO and Product specialist from within the suppliers organisation. Programmes can then packaged and delivered through a telco, meaning equipment purchases and deployment expenses could be rolled into a telco agreement and amortised across the agreement term (cashflow is king!)
Another big plus is that many ICT suppliers do not allow on-sellers or agents to alter pricing of their products and services (add a margin). Set rates or commissions are payable directly to the agent when agreed milestones are met, so it is not unfathomable that services provided by a Virtual CIO could be partly or wholly funded by the supplier.
Virtual CIO's services can extend from complex and specialised tasks such as network security audits and penetration testing, providing connectivity, Wi-Fi and POS systems to a new site, delivering a company intranet or CRM system to simply ordering a new mobile phone.
The best thing is is that they are customer-centric and determined to make their business a success. Sound like someone you know?
If you would like to give a Virtual CIO a go, reach out and we will get you in contact with one.
The Albino Peacock isn't actually albino... This is just a popular name for a White Peacock, and a white peacock is technically a genetic variant of the Indian Blue Peafowl with genetic mutation that is known as Leucism, which causes the lack of pigments in the plumage.
But they are still rare and magnificent.