The uncanny board room.

What the hell is a CIO?

Michael Dowd
3 min read

Good question!

I had a client ask me this a while back. The letters stand for Chief Information Officer, but for most small business owners and entrepreneurs, that is equally opaque. She had hired me to oversee the creation of a custom application to make communicating with her clients easier and more consistent. She uses a service provider that supports her PC’s and network, makes sure that her security meets the standards she must follow, and manages her cloud-based assets (Office 365 and the like). The guy who runs that company, because she has been a long-standing customer, basically acts as her CIO. He keeps track of and gives her guidance on what technologies she can use to improve the way her business works. She treats him as a trusted advisor. And that, in simple terms, is what a CIO is. A trusted advisor focused on using technology to improve the way your business works.

For so many people in charge of running a small company, this responsibility along with all the others, falls directly on them. For a few, a friend or relative can step in to help, or perhaps a tech-savvy employee can take some of the load. But for a small company to have a dedicated person to play this role is simply impractical. I mean, the cost alone… Right?

Sometimes all you really need is one hour a month to get some advice from someone who has seen all this before.

My client is fortunate to have found her acting CIO, whether she calls him that or not. Not every entrepreneur is so lucky. And for those, there is another way. A Fractional CIO. A fractional CIO is just a regular CIO. A trusted advisor to help you use technology to make your business run better. The difference is that they only work part-time for you, as much or as little as you need them. Sometimes all you really need is one hour a month to get some advice from someone who has seen all this before. At other times, you might have a big idea that could help you get your business over the top, but only if you can pull it off. Having a trusted advisor in these situations really is crucial.

If you are interested in learning more about how outsourcing your CIO function can help your business, please contact me today. I have been providing CIO services to small businesses for over 20 years, and I would love to hear from you. I can offer you a free consultation, where we can discuss your challenges, goals, and options. Together, we can find the best way to use technology to make your business work better.


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Michael Dowd
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