How Professional CIO Services Can Boost Your Business
According to the Information Age, 75% of businesses aim to invest more in IT business consultants by the end of 2022. Why is there a growing demand for IT consultancy, and why is CIO services’ popularity skyrocketing? In this article, we discuss the specifics of CIO technology services, the benefits of hiring an in-house or virtual CIO consultant, and how to find the best CIO advisor for your business.
Understanding CIO as a Service
Nowadays, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are IT executives in charge of ensuring a balance between business agility and optimized costs involved. Therefore, the mission of the IT department is to facilitate business functions with the help of digital transformation, providing continuous business support before, during, and after the IT changes.
At the same time, a chief information officer is responsible for ensuring that the IT department’s performance has a positive impact on the company’s revenue. This complex goal can be achieved only by aligning IT solutions with business processes, as well as the strategic goals of the organization.
It’s important to note that a chief information officer needs to be aware of the new emerging technologies and changing IT processes to be able to use the most relevant IT services that meet the company’s goals. Taking into account ML, AI, cloud technologies, and the mobile-first world, IT transformation is unavoidable, but the changes need to be implemented timely and corrected.
To achieve the desired strategic goals and get the maximum of the existing IT solutions, IT executives often seek credible CIO advisory services provided by seasoned experts with solid knowledge of the latest digital trends and successful IT transformation projects. It is possible to find reputable chief information officer consultants who can either conduct an IT audit, help with strategic IT transformation planning, or assist with the implementation of IT changes. An IT executive consultant that provides complex advisory services, including assessing, planning, and implementing, is known as CIO as a service.
By opting for reliable CIO consulting services, a company can:
- Evaluate and measure the IT value proposition;
- Ensure optimal business performance thanks to digital innovation;
- Conduct IT transformation in line with changing business processes and external environment;
- Ensure agility and sustainability of the IT organization;
- Foresight challenges, mitigate risks, and benefit from opportunities, thanks to an external CIO expertise.
When Is It Time to Hire a CIO? Reasons to Hire & Consequences of Not Hiring
Here are the top 6 reasons why companies may need to hire a CIO consultant:
- An organization needs a seasoned CIO advisor with vast experience in strategic project planning and implementation, including the selection of the relevant tech resources. An IT executive consultant with a strong understanding of the whole IT value chain can advise on the most relevant solution for a particular business;
- A company requires high-quality assistance with the IT transformation strategy and process;
- An organization is in search of an experienced IT executive consultant who is well-versed in global trends, best practices in creating and managing an IT operating model, as well as digital transformation specifics;
- A company is looking for a CIO expert that can not only perform IT audit but also understand the real needs of the organization and cater to the various interest groups;
- A business needs a highly proficient CIO advisor who proved to have their own tried-and-tested practical approach in developing IT value proposition, boosting business and IT transformations, mitigating security risks, and ensuring the stability of the IT organization;
- A company is looking for ways to increase the sustainability and agility of the IT solution.
If the company doesn’t have a CIO in-house for a long time, or the current CIO lacks some knowledge and experience in managing the IT organization, this may negatively impact the business.
- In the short term, without a CIO, the business may not be able to identify opportunities and threats in real time, avoid communication issues between departments, adapt to the changing IT environment, and mitigate risks timely.
- In the long term, such issues won’t disappear but grow in size and complexity, while the opportunities will be missed for good. When signing up for CIO consulting services at this stage, it will require much more time, effort, and means to fix the problem that could possibly be avoided.
CIO Advisory vs. On-Demand CIO: What’s the Difference?
When considering CIO consulting solutions, you may encounter different descriptions. What is the difference between interim and advisory CIO services? And how virtual CIO services deviate? Let’s dive into specifics.
- Interim CIO Services
An interim CIO consultant works with an organization on a temporary basis, usually from six months to several years. Companies hire interim CIO advisors when a full-time CIO is missing (retired, changed the role, was promoted or fired, maternity leave, etc.), and there’s a strong need for a senior CIO expert. Thus, the business receives a well-qualified CIO professional with the relevant expertise and fresh look at IT processes for the needed period.
- On-Demand CIO
An on-demand CIO consultant usually works on a short-term or part-time basis. This is the most cost-effective solution for companies looking for CIO assistance from time to time to be able to align their IT services and make sure they successfully pursue strategic business goals. Oftentimes, on-demand CIO contractors charge per hour of consultation. They can help businesses to identify and implement the needed IT solutions while pointing out the potential threats.
- CIO Advisory Services
A CIO advisor is usually a highly-qualified IT executive hired by the company on a long-term basis to assess the current technology in use, plan the IT transformation and growth, and develop an IT strategy aligned with the business goals.
- CIO Consulting
While CIO advisers typically assist businesses for years, CIO consultants help companies on a shorter-term basis and may help with a specific IT problem or change needed. CIO consultants are mostly hired by small to medium-size businesses looking for a dedicated CIO expert who can help build the IT organization and advise on the transformation and maintenance procedures.
- Virtual CIO services
Virtual CIO consultants (vCIO) are gaining enormous popularity these days. A vCIO consultant is a dedicated expert who can perform the duties and responsibilities as if an in-house CIO for a defined period. When it’s impossible to find a relevant expert locally, or if the organization has a limited budget, virtual CIO services come as a cost-effective and reliable solution. Virtual CIOs are usually hired through reputable IT vendors, and at this point, it’s only important to work with a reliable vCIO services provider.
How CIO Experts Work With Businesses Step by Step
Each CIO expert has their own tried-and-tested consultancy approach when working with companies. However, the advisory process can be broken down into three main steps:
First of all, the CIO professional will assess and evaluate the current IT processes and organizational structure to understand how the company works and the opportunities and threats of a given business.
After understanding the current state of things, a chief information officer advisor discusses the company’s executive management or board of directors’ goals and requirements. This stage is completed once the parties document the agreed strategic IT initiatives, priorities, stages, implementation schedule, and expected measurable results.
Last but not least is the actual IT transformation performed according to the suggested and agreed IT changes that meet the business strategic goal. The IT advisor can take care of the change process, ensure minimized risks, and maximize project success within the given timeframe and budget.
Considering Specifics of Different CIO Consulting Services
There are different services that an IT executive consultant can provide, depending on the company’s needs and requirements. Let’s take a closer look into most popular ones:
- IT Audit
Thanks to a CIO expert, a company can get an independent professional audit of their IT processes, with potential threats and opportunities highlighted.
- Business Intelligence (BI)
A CIO consultant specializing in BI solutions can evaluate the company’s needs and advise on the relevant software and services to get actionable insights from business data that will further lead the strategic business decisions.
- IT Transformation
A seasoned CIO consultant with a strong knowledge of the latest IT and business practices and digitalization development can guide on the relevant transformations needed in response to the fast-changing business and IT environment. Such an expert can also help the company ensure IT continuous adjustment and agility.
- IT Executive Consulting
This IT executive consultant can be of help for IT executives even when it comes to structuring the whole IT organization, defining IT value, and prioritizing the changes needed. In some cases, a contract CIO expert may help the company to find a dedicated in-house or remote CIO.
- Crisis IT Management
Such a consultant experienced in crisis management solutions, also known as a turnaround CIO, can help to define the crisis conditions and prepare crisis response steps to follow when needed. This often includes a thorough analysis, immediate actions, follow-up action, recovery metrics, and preventing activities. According to TechFunnel, it’s crucial to have crisis IT management guidelines not to waste time when such a situation occurs to ensure coordinated teamwork and timely reactions.
- Chief Information Officer as a Service
Chief Information Officer as a Service includes all the mentioned services and can be understood as an independent specialist and strategic IT partner available long term or per a defined term to assist a company with aligning its IT processes and changes needed.
Comparing CIO Consulting Rates in Different Countries
Let’s compare a chief information officer consultant’s rates per hour in different countries, based on Payscale data and our Recruiting Team research over several local job portals:
* numbers are based on our in-house Recruiting Team research done over popular local job boards
As you can see, among the benefits virtual CIO services are the cost-effectiveness of hiring a first-class IT executive advisor remotely from another country. Ukraine is well-known for highly-qualified IT specialists, as mentioned by Top Coder ranking, that can be hired at much lower rates compared to US and European specialists of the same expertise.
Choosing Between In-House and Virtual CIO Services
To sum up the information above, here is a comparison table that highlights in what cases it’s better to hire an in-house IT advisor, in what cases to opt for a remote chief information officer, and when to sign up only for CIO services.
|In-House CIO||Remote CIO||CIO Services|
|You are willing to communicate fast and offline only||You are open to remote cooperation if it’s resultative and beneficial to the business||You need CIO consultancy on a short term / on a project basis|
|You have a budget to recruit and keep a well-qualified local CIO advisor in-house||You want to find a well-qualified CIO expert & a cost-effective solution||You need assistance with specific processes, be it strategic planning or IT transformation, at an adequate cost|
|You are looking for an expert on a long-term basis||You are looking for a CIO advisor that can work both short-term and long-term if needed||You need CIO consultancy on-demand/on a short term|
As you can see, each option comes with its advantages and limitations. However, vCIO services proved to combine the benefits of both in-house dedicated experts and on-demand remote specialists. Given the fact the hiring an IT executive consultant remotely opens access to a global IT talent pool, and it becomes possible to find the expert with the much-needed experience in a particular field and processes, more and more businesses turn to work with remote CIOs.
Best Practices for Hiring Expert-Level CIO
If you want to find an expert-level CIO with many years of experience in executive processes and CIO consulting services, it’s crucial to invest time and effort into the sourcing and recruiting process:
- First of all, clearly define the needs and goals of your business. No seasoned IT executive advisor won’t help a company that doesn’t have a clear vision of what they want to achieve;
- Evaluate both the local market and the global IT talent pool. There are high chances you won’t be able to find a suitable CIO expert with the qualifications and expertise needed locally. However, if you look for a remote CIO consultant globally, you’ll be able to choose between a number of candidates.
- Make a competitive offer. High-quality CIO services can’t cost cheap, even if it’s an on-demand CIO solution. However, when sourcing globally, it’s possible to have a cost-effective offer.
- Find a reliable IT vendor. Instead of dealing with a complex recruiting process by yourself, especially if you haven’t hired a remote expert before, it’s better to find a reliable IT outstaffing and consultancy provider that can help you source the best candidates and take care of the management side of the hiring process.
- Get in touch with Mobilunity experts. Here, you have already found one of the most reliable vendors on the global IT consultancy and team augmentation market. By working with Mobilunity professionals, you can get the first-class CIO consultancy services needed without unnecessary management struggles and worries.
Why Mobilunity Is CIO Consultancy Company You Need
Mobilunity is a renowned Ukrainian outstaffing and IT consultancy company that has been providing small to large-scale businesses all over the world with dedicated IT resources. We have been working on the global market for 10+ years, and our experts know how to source and recruit the most proficient IT experts that will perfectly meet the needs of a particular business.
We are proud to say that 40+ companies in 20+ countries around the world trust Mobilunity with IT team augmentation and IT consultancy. Therefore, if you are looking for a top-level CIO as a service, get in touch with a Mobilunity representative, and let us help you find the right CIO consultant with the relevant knowledge and experience.
Why choose Mobilunity?
- 10+ years on the global market;
- Dozens of happy clients;
- Access to a large and highly-qualified IT talent pool in Ukraine;
- Dedicated IT resources;
- Personalized approach;
- Affordable rates.
Following best practices in sourcing first-class experts on demand, our Mobilunity recruiters have a well-established flow of finding the best-matching candidates for a business, while you are in full control of the recruiting process and make the final decision:
- First, we discuss your business needs and requirements for a CIO consultant. Based on this, we create an ideal candidate profile together;
- Our recruiters launch a labor market campaign to look for the relevant experts and collect applications;
- Our expert evaluate each application and shortlist candidates CVs according to the created candidate profile;
- We conduct interviews with selected candidates to check if they qualify for the job application, evaluate their CIO skills, experience, and working approach;
- Then, we organize an interview with you, our team, and the shortlisted candidates after the first round of interviews;
- You make an offer to the selected specialist, and we negotiate for the best offer details for your business.