What is a Virtual CIO/CTO?
A Virtual CIO and Virtual CTO are virtually the same thing. Sometimes they are referred to as Fractional CIO or Part-time CTO or vCIO. These are all the same service offering. The service is a great resource for small to medium-sized businesses that are growing and utilizing technology as a part of their business. A vCIO is a Chief Information Officer (or Chief Technology Officer) that serves a company on a flexible or part-time basis.
The Chief Information Officer would typically report to the CEO (Chief Executive Officer). They are the technological leader within the organization. They are responsible for IT strategy, purchasing, vendor contracts, personnel, standards, and information security. Sometimes they are even responsible for physical security, depending on the company.
What a Virtual CIO/CTO is not
A vCIO is not technical support. They are not a software developer or a network administrator. Sometimes, rather than hiring a CIO or CTO, a small business will hire a technical resource to do the job along with their own. This might be a software engineer, database administrator, project manager, or systems administrator. These roles then suffer by sharing their responsibilities with the responsibilities of a CIO. This is exactly why these companies could benefit from a vCIO. They could have their resources focused on their core responsibilities. A vCIO would then be there to handle everything else without the large price tag of a full-time employee.
Why would I want to hire a Virtual CIO/CTO?
You need a vCIO because technology is complex and ever-changing. Technology teams need leadership, standards, and guidance to get them to perform to the best of their abilities. Many companies sign up for software and services, or purchase equipment and computer hardware for their businesses without looking at how to make them work optimally or how to structure the terms in a way that is most favorable to the business financially. A Virtual CIO will analyze security, information disclosure policies, and disaster recovery as well. Like insurance you’d purchase for your home, car, and health, these areas can prove costly if an issue arises and there is not a solid plan in place.
A Virtual CIO can handle all of these things as well as look into the future to make sure you have a strategy in place that aligns with your business goals.
How much do Virtual CIO/CTO’s cost?
Typically consulting businesses that offer a Virtual CIO service charge an hourly rate between $150-$500 per hour. They might discount the hourly rate if you buy blocks of hours or buy a bundle of hours that can be used for any service offering the company has. Some companies offer plans to charge a flat monthly retainer that has a cap on hours in that period. Some also provide a mix of all of these. Transcendent Software provides all of these options. We also work with you to make sure that your business has the best billing fit to support your cash flow.