Understanding the Role of Virtual CIO and Why You Need One

How can virtual CIO services help your organization? Learn everything about vCIO services today.

As business models develop in this technologically advanced age, you may need to consider new job positions. Let’s learn what virtual CIO services are and how they can help take your company to the next level.

Remaining competitive in your industry often means changing and adapting to new circumstances and ways of doing things. Due to the pandemic and other influences, remote work has become much more popular. Many companies have expanded their employee pool worldwide due to current virtual capabilities.

To maintain security and technical prowess, you may need executive powers that focus specifically on your company’s information technology. CIOs (chief information officers), especially virtual ones, have gained popularity in the corporate sphere. Hiring trusted virtual CIO services in Corona, FL, to assist your organization can help it grow without falling behind competitors.

What Does a Virtual CIO Do?

A vCIO, or virtual CIO, acts as the chief information officer of a company while working virtually. Contractors or firms can fulfill this role, completing the same tasks as an in-house CIO. Virtual CIOs may also go by “outsourced” or “fractional” due to their contract or part-time positions in the company.

CIOs formulate IT goals and budgets while ensuring the company continues to work at its best technical level. They match organization goals with potential technical advancements or current technology to help meet business goals. They may incorporate new technology to ensure out-of-date networks and equipment do not hinder progress.

Why a CIO Is Important

A CIO also looks for ways to improve cost-effectiveness in all IT subject matters. Their efforts can help lower technical costs while increasing speed and processing power. CIOs often remain innovative while constantly adjusting to the company's overall needs.

Organizations that do not have internal IT teams or limited IT staff can hire a vCIO to take on more technical responsibilities. However, vCIOs differ from regular technical advisory services.

In an executive-level position, their decisions include business acumen and how IT can improve their goals. Technical services, like managed service providers (MSPs), usually focus on providing services rather than full management. Meanwhile, a vCIO can advise the organization on which services could become most effective to incorporate.

Who Could Use a vCIO?

Most CIOs become in-house employees on the pay schedule. However, some organizations may not have the resources necessary to house all employees. As such, many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with limited resources and needing large-scale changes can use a vCIO.

Many vCIOs work as contractors or part-time because of the flexibility of their virtual position. Additionally, vCIOs typically cost less to contract with or hire than someone in-house.

Even with this flexibility, they have high levels of expertise in current technological trends as well as prospective future ideas. As executives, they also have the charisma and leadership abilities needed to help make important organizational adjustments. If you need to overhaul your current IT infrastructure and need advice on a budget, a vCIO can work wonders.

What to Look For From Virtual CIO Consulting Services?

As with any employee or contract position, the quality of work you receive varies based on their expertise. Watch for these characteristics when looking for virtual CIO services to help your organization.

The Ability to Connect IT Advice With Business Goals

CIOs should establish an interconnected relationship between technology and the organization's future. Major differences between regular CIOs and a vCIO include availability and communication. As a strategist working on the technical side of things, a vCIO should mitigate these differences.

To strategize, they need to be able to match IT infrastructure and changes with your business. They should also be able to connect with other department decision-makers to produce positive results.

An Understanding of New Technology or Other Technological Developments

Outdated technology punishes your organization, often resulting in reduced productivity, income, and ratings. Many companies hire a CIO or vCIO because they understand the need to grow into new systems. If the information operator does not understand new or developing technology, they cannot give efficient advice.

So, CIOs need to understand tech and how they can integrate it into the organization’s development plans. They should also be able to explain how these benefits occur to others in the company.

Knowledge of Planning and Managing IT Projects

CIOs align technology with company interests and should be able to manage the integration of said tech. Integration, or project planning and management, often includes budgeting, understanding business requirements, training, and more. A skilled CIO can also reasonably cut costs to meet high-quality goals with smaller amounts of money.

Having Interpersonal Skills, or the Ability to Relate Positively With Others

As a vCIO, they may not be a permanent or constant member of the organization. However, they must integrate well with employees and adapt to their clients. Moreover, as executives, their decisions and behaviors can greatly affect the organization.

They need to understand each organization's culture, business demands, and work style. Skilled CIOs often establish clear communication modes and an understanding of what to expect from their services. Clarity, eagerness, and a collaborative attitude often set a positive start to the working relationship.

The Ability to Adapt Quickly

Business goals can shift depending on the current trends, environment, and industry. As these goals change, so do the IT requirements.

A CIO should be able to change pace or gears based on their client. Many of them plan for potential changes in the industry. During unprecedented changes, CIOs need the willingness to adapt and grow with it, even if they don’t have immediate answers.

Are CIOs and vCIOs Different?

While these positions have functional similarities, the approaches to these positions are different. Some differences are instrumental to an organization's ability to use its services and knowledge. Here are a few things you should know about how in-house and virtual CIOs differ.

Employment Contracts

Contractors and firms fill vCIO positions, while in-house CIOs are employees. A CIO only works with one organization, but a vCIO may work with several. In addition, the connections a vCIO builds with an organization will differ from a CIO because of the proximity to employees.

Work Approach

Since CIOs work in-house, they participate directly and constantly in organization dynamics. With more knowledge of the business structure and decision-making processes, they tend to adapt their ideas to fit in.

This process doesn’t mean they restrain their skills, but that the way they present them may follow protocol. Some organizations prefer this behavior to promote teamwork and community.

Virtual CIO services often come with a lack of knowledge about internal organization politics. However, businesses that value innovative ideas or don’t have the budget for an in-house CIO accept the trade-off. Virtual CIOs tend to present fresh viewpoints to potential organizational issues.


In-house CIOs often join organizations from established hiring processes. Meanwhile, most vCIOs come from an IT consulting business or as part of managed service provider (MSP) services. Individuals can also advertise themselves as virtual CIOs to SMBs, though one should carefully review their abilities.

Pay Grade

Many SMBs hire vCIOs instead of an in-house CIO because of how much their services cost. CIOs, as employees, receive employee perks along with a high pay grade due to their executive position.

CIO salaries range between $150,000 to $500,000 depending on the organization, the scope of their work, and effectiveness. In addition to a higher salary, some employee benefits can include bonuses or profit-sharing. Many SMBs cannot afford the maintenance costs needed for an in-house CIO.

Virtual CIO pricing models differ per individual, MSP, or firm. Contracts usually include hourly charges or a flat rate without typical employee advantages. Many vCIOs can afford this model of work because they have several clients.

How Virtual CIO Services May Charge You

Many flat-rate price arrangements follow a monthly subscription model. They may have a limit on the amount of times organizations can call on them or other agreements. While they remain dedicated to the company, they can only fulfill duties within that subscription.

Estimates for flat-rate providers can be difficult to predict, sometimes running from $2,000 to $10,000 per month.

Hourly pricing varies depending on location, the vCIO’s expertise, and more. However, many prices begin at around $200 per hour for their services and increase from there. Depending on how much you need them, you may pay the same as paying for a vCIO subscription.

Comparatively, CIOs often receive much more than their vCIO counterparts per organization, mainly because a CIO only works for one. Because CIOs are employees, they require certain benefits that vCIOs do not, increasing their costs.

Virtual CIOs can often afford lower price ranges because they work with several organizations at once.

Virtual CIOs offer a cheaper alternative, but be sure to negotiate reasonable pay for the amount of work you expect. Being clear about your budget and CIOs being clear about their capabilities fosters a positive work experience for everyone involved.

Common Pros of Virtual CIO Consulting Services in Corona

Cost reduction stands as only one of several benefits of using vCIO services. Organizations can also benefit from the following advantages.

Easier Onboarding

Hiring employees can lead to costly processes through human resources. It can also take a lot of time, including accepting applications, interviews, and background checks.

While hiring individuals providing vCIO services includes some of those events, as contractors, they do not require the same costs. Firms and MSPs especially don’t since they have already trained and vetted their coworkers. Onboarding for them usually includes introductions to others and the current system, among other less-costly processes.


Virtual CIOs often offer 24/7 assistance for any issues as they arise. Employees have set hours in which they work and often cannot extend beyond those hours without proper compensation. Because vCIOs work part-time as contractors, they often remain available even after regular business hours.

Objective Perspective

One of the benefits of working as an employee can also be a hindrance. People often build a political hierarchy when working closely with others for several hours each day. While this process can build relationships, it can also hinder progress and lead to an unhealthy work environment.

Virtual CIOs do not have as much contact with general employees, focusing on projects and communications with necessary people. They become close enough to benefit the organization but far away enough to stay out of internal politics. As such, they typically fall outside of workplace politics and offer their perspectives and findings without restraint.

Their input can greatly benefit the organization, especially when they maintain mindfulness of the business necessities and do not go overboard. Virtual CIOs can occasionally lose sight of the company's needs because they are not there in person. Remind them of your desires for the organization, and they should reconsider or present why their idea may fit properly.


SMBs typically have experienced employees with some level of IT prowess. However, they do not have the amount of knowledge needed to make executive decisions with a reasonable amount of assurance.

Virtual CIO services cost less, but they often have the same IT experience as an in-house CIO. The lack of on-site presence can make communication somewhat difficult. However, establishing quick contact methods can help alleviate the issue and allow the SMB to benefit from their knowledge.

Final Thoughts

As you consider your IT options, remember what virtual CIO services offer. While many of them work with MSPs, you may not need or be able to afford managed IT services. However, if you need an executive to help make informed technical decisions without the same price tag, a vCIO can help.

You have several contracting options from firms, MSPs, and individuals from Corona, FL. Virtual CIOs typically stay motivated and ready to improve and develop any organization that needs their expertise. With careful inspection of their abilities and clear communication, you can see positive organizational growth with a vCIO.

If you need more information, the team at TechWorks can help.