Are You Thinking Ahead?
To get the most out of your technology, you need to have a plan – both for how you will match it to your current needs, and ensure it matches your growth. Do you have someone handling that for you?
Technology plays a vital role in your day-to-day manufacturing operations. In fact, the modern business world depends on technology for just about every task – from marketing to sales to accounting and everything in between.
Technology provides a faster, more efficient way of performing work and completing transactions. Technology paves the way for innovation, helping manufacturers stay agile in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
No matter what industry you look at, they all depend on technology for most tasks in one way or another. Technology paves the way for innovation, helping manufacturers stay agile in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
That’s why it makes sense to have someone dedicated to helping you leverage technology properly, right?
Given how important technology is in the manufacturing world, it’s baffling that so many firms continue to follow an unplanned, ad-hoc methodology when it comes to planning their IT.
Why is this?
Sometimes firms are just so busy they don’t have time to learn about the latest technology for manufacturing. Sometimes the cost will be too high – after all, not every firm can afford the same resources that Amazon might use.
But there are ways to get past the budgetary requirements and all the technology headaches. With a virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) you can move to the next level and even prepare for the future.
What Is The Role Of A vCIO?
First, let’s consider what a conventional CIO does – it’s their job to understand your organization completely and offer strategic IT planning, analysis, and overall IT management.
They’re dedicated to finding ways to help you grow through new technology and technology-driven processes. By keeping an eye on both your operations and the industry landscape, your CIO can ensure that you are getting’ maximum benefit from all of your technology investments.
However, finding an experienced CIO that is willing to carry out executive-level duties on a small business salary is a near-impossible task. Many businesses simply can’t even afford to even try to hire someone to fill this position – but just because the resources aren’t there, it doesn’t mean that the need for CIO services isn’t there either.
That’s why outsourcing CIO services is becoming such a popular idea – a vCIO performs all of the same functions as a traditional CIO, for a fraction of the cost. There is no salary to negotiate, no benefits to provide, and no hiring process to endure. Best of all, they can take on the heavy burden of responsibility that comes with constantly expanding and evolving technology infrastructure.
Your vCIO will work closely with you to ensure that you’re making the right technology investments. Their focus is not just on what is best for you today, but what will benefit you down the road.
When weighing one IT company over another, make sure they have a qualified vCIO on staff who has the ability to:
- Offer support and guidance regarding new IT initiatives
- Advise on the allocation of your IT budget
- Manage the changeover to new technologies
- Provide regular reports on the health of your IT systems and security status
- Create and implement a Business Continuity Plan
- Lower your overall IT costs and increasing efficiency and productivity
What 3 Duties Will A vCIO Carry Out?
- Analysis and Evaluation Of Your IT: The first duty for your vCIO will be to conduct a comprehensive assessment of your technology, staff, and operations so they can provide a personalized IT plan for you to follow.
With an overall assessment of your IT resources, you can get a clear picture of what could be changed to provide you with better performance. The assessment includes hardware, software, networks, and business processes you employ.
- Development And Implementation Of IT Strategy: With an understanding about which technologies will benefit you, they can advise on and implement an IT Plan that aligns with your unique needs and goals.
The vCIO can build a technology roadmap that incorporates opportunities to utilize your existing technology as well as identify areas where new tools would be most beneficial both now and in the future. This will include cost/benefit considerations and define the total cost of ownership for significant IT investments like your ERP system.
They will translate this information into actionable steps that comprise your customized technology roadmap. This strategic technology plan will direct how to use your existing IT infrastructure more effectively and ensure that you’re prepared for future needs.
- Application Of Emerging Technologies: Manufacturing industry trends are changing. New technologies are being developed that can help you get the work done each day faster and with fewer errors. Your vCIO will analyze the impact these changes could have and determine when to invest in the right technology so you can optimize your return on investment.
Your vCIO will apply their expertise to leverage new technologies that could greatly benefit you. With the ability to predict industry trends, they can provide you with the edge over your competition enabling you to achieve greater success.
Do You Really Need A vCIO?
Most likely – the fact is that many of those charged with running a firm are so busy with day-to-day decision making that they really don’t have time to oversee their IT department. You just have to hope your IT staff is making the right decisions about your technology.
Even huge companies have discovered this the hard way, that their internal IT department wasn’t really doing their job. This brings up a very important concern for all business owners. Can you really trust that your IT people are updating and patching programs as needed? Are they keeping your IT equipment running optimally?
If you don’t have an internal IT department or your IT staff is very limited, you can turn over the broad decision-making authority and technology deployment responsibilities to your vCIO.
The difference between a vCIO and other advisors is that your vCIO will take a complete view of your company, including your budgetary and business goals. They will develop a Strategic IT Plan to get you where you need to be now, and want to be in the future, in the most cost-effective way.
Like this article? Check out the following blogs to learn more: