How to get your Technology Roadmap right when you’re not an IT expert…
Updated: Nov 3, 2022
It’s easy to assume that all organisations have a Chief Information Officer (CIO). However, whilst it’s fair to say that most organisations will likely have someone with overall responsibility for IT, it’s certainly not the case that that person is always a dedicated head with the single role of steering the organisation’s IT strategy. In SMEs, Senior Management teams frequently comprise of people with more than one senior role. These “multi-hatters” are a common phenomenon, especially prevalent in smaller organisations or those needing to save costs.
The risk that wearing more than one hat carries...
The wearing of several hats, whilst necessary, can be difficult. It requires a split focus, resulting in many managers having to focus a large amount of their time on strategic activities in which they are not expert. That means there are a lot of people out there with no significant IT expertise, trying hard to steer their organisations’ technical direction, but not necessarily having the confidence that they’re making the right calls.
The problem is, whilst IT used to be a thing that organisations used from time to time – perhaps a word processor for their PA, or a printer in the corner - technology is now the powerhouse behind most businesses. It drives collaboration, productivity, and innovation. And let’s not forget the vast amount of hugely valuable data that’s stored electronically. So, it’s absolutely critical to ensure the decisions made around technology are right. Organisations that fail to give IT the appropriate priority will undoubtedly end up with technology that’s more and more legacy, more expensive to manage, less and less secure, and most crucially, impeding innovation and growth.
If you’re worried that’s you, then what to do?
It’s the realisation of the significant business risk associated with legacy IT that is often a key driver for businesses without expert CIOs at the helm to seek help. And one very cost-effective way of doing that is to form a partnership with a strategic IT Managed Services provider (Strategic IT MSP).
Strategic IT MSPs focus less on traditional day-to-day monitoring and support and much more on helping businesses to make the right overarching technology choices, and in turn put in place sensible technical and financial IT strategies. Organisations with no dedicated CIO often adopt this type of MSP model. In this scenario, MSPs can provide value across the board. CIO as a Service, or CIOaaS as it’s often referred to (after all, what would IT be with out another acronym…), is a flavour of managed service that’s becoming more and more popular.
Do I really need a CIO?
Gartner’s definition of a CIO explicitly calls out how important this leadership role is in driving “critical strategic, technical and management initiatives” now that technology has become a core enabler of organisational success. It’s therefore safe to accept that having the role is non-negotiable. But a CIO needs to be experienced and knowledgeable. And good CIOs are expensive. The IT industry is one of the best paid sectors for any role, and the CIO role is top of the pile. Topflight CIOs can command hefty wages, and that level of expenditure is beyond the means of many smaller businesses.
This is where a CIOaaS comes into its own. For a monthly fee that’s significantly lower than the cost of a full-time employee or contractor, organisations can draw upon the experience of a seasoned CIO with both breadth and depth of current IT knowledge and their finger on the strategic technology pulse to help them get the best from their IT at the fraction of the cost of a full time, top-flight, CIO.
It never pays to ‘wing it’ with technology. There are just too many risks, too many wasted costs and too many lost opportunities to innovate. So, if you don’t have an IT expert at the helm, it's a good idea to consider bringing in a CIO on a part time, but consistently regular basis. For as little as a couple of hours a month you'll have access to someone who'll get under the skin of your organisation’s technology and help you focus on what's important. They’ll help you with essentials like saving IT costs right through to helping you negotiate contracts, shore up your security, migrate to the cloud and set your 3-year technology roadmap. Their advice, guidance and expertise is simple mechanism for ensuring you leverage technology effectively, with the right levels of skill and investment to support your organisation’s stability and growth.
If you would like to better understand the benefits your business could personally see with the guidance of a CIO, book yourself a 30 minute discovery session with us here where you will be offered some high level recommendations for free.