How do I know when I need CIO services?
I have listed a few items below that would warrant the need for true IT planning and expertise with a CIO.
If it is time for a technology refresh then you need CIO services. Alternatively, perhaps you are not sure if you can squeeze a few more years out of your current hardware. You should not be making large IT expenditures just because… if your hardware is getting old and is not on maintenance then it may be time to replace. Typically, a server life is around 5 years and a workstations life can vary from 2 – 5 years depending on your industry.
Planning a business software upgrade or purchasing new ERP software regardless of it is a cloud application or not. Having a CIO assist you and the software vendor in evaluating if your network infrastructure is viable for an on-premise, cloud or hosted option is a valuable asset. Moving to the cloud is not always the best option for business, and working with a non-biased resource to assist you in making the right choice for your business can be critical for such a large investment.
Business acquisition or the addition of new locations. If you do have plans to expand, it is important to reach out to a CIO as soon as possible. Planning for an acquisition requires a lot of flexibility to ensure confidentiality goals are met along with starting up the business in a secure and productive environment. A CIO can help you make plans for these sensitive situations so you the business owner can worry about all the business details and decisions, not the IT. Most companies like CIS have no problem signing a non-disclosure document to ensure your transactions are kept confidential.
Relocation or a move is a big CIO job. You need to make sure that your ISP and phone service are available in your new location not to mention cable drops installed in the right places.
Recent data loss and/or an increase in virus threats are a sign that a CIO should review your network infrastructure. These are signs of an unhealthy network and can cost your business customers and lost productivity from your labor force.
Disaster recovery plan is needed for your business. Do you really have a plan? If it is to restore from backup, I recommend you ask your IT professional to prove it will work. Having a disaster recovery plan is crucial to any business. (Keep in mind that having a back up is not all that is involved with a true disaster recovery plan.) Having a CIO to discuss your downtime business costs and plans for recovery is probably the number one use for a CIO. They can help you determine how aggressive your recovery plan should be; one hour or eight hours is an example. Then provide a plan that fits your business needs and implement. It is really not a matter of if you will have a network failure or even a natural disaster, it is really a matter of when.
ISP (Internet Service Provider) and/or Phone problems or just changing services can be challenging and costly. Choosing a bad provider or even purchasing more services than you need can cost your company money. Most ISPs require long-term contracts that are hard break. Utilizing a CIO to review these contracts and having knowledge of the vendors that are providing good services at competitive prices can save your business money and perhaps even the risk of Internet outages.