Have you ever confused a sweet potato for a yam, or vice versa? Maybe you have even used the names interchangeably. There’s no doubt there are many similarities between these two root vegetables, but they are not the same. If you look a little closer, you can see there are notable differences in terms of color and taste.
The same mistake is often made with chief information and technology officers. Although there are some parallels and the titles are, at times, erroneously used interchangeably, these are two distinct leadership positions. Just like how replacing a yam with a sweet potato could ruin the flavor of a dish, having someone in the wrong position could come with undesirable results. It’s important to understand how these roles differ and which one would best fit your needs.
Let’s first start with an overview of the two positions, beginning with the chief information officer (CIO). The CIO is someone who oversees your organization’s IT infrastructure. They are responsible for ongoing operations, mission-critical systems, and overall security. They are also tasked with finding ways to enhance the productivity of individuals and the business as a whole.
A chief technology officer’s (CTO) job, on the other hand, is to grow the business through technology solutions. The people who are in this position are focused on improving the company’s offerings by developing tools and technology that consumers want to buy. Simply put, the difference between a CIO and CTO is that the CIO is inward-looking and the CTO is outward-looking.
The CIO and CTO both have a deep understanding of the technical needs of your business. Their business functions can even overlap occasionally. As such, it can be tempting to merge the two roles into one, especially for smaller companies that can’t afford to staff both positions. However, you shouldn’t substitute one for the other because both roles are vital to your company’s success.
Now that you understand how CIOs and CTOs differ, we can take it one step further and discuss virtual services. There are plenty of reasons why businesses may try to avoid hiring for these positions. For many small- to medium-sized businesses, the main reason is budget. A full-time internal CIO and CTO isn’t exactly cheap and can seem like a luxury.
Fortunately, there’s a way to have your cake and eat it too. There are managed service providers (MSPs), like PCR Business Systems, that offer virtual CIO (vCIO) and virtual CTO (vCTO) services. A vCIO and a vCTO perform the same duties as their full-time counterparts but can be hired at a fraction of the cost.
Choosing to go down the virtual route can be highly beneficial for any business. When you partner with an MSP, they provide an expert who has leadership experience and is able to help steer your IT in the right direction.
While they may not be an internal employee, they can become thoroughly familiar with the current state of your infrastructure. Keeping your future goals in mind, they can also identify where improvements can be made. Finally, this is an on-demand service, meaning you only have to pay for the service when you use it.
Virtual CIOs and CTOs have your best interests in mind regarding your technology needs and can help you achieve your business goals. vCIOs and vCTOs can provide a variety of benefits, including:
- Objectivity: Virtual CTOs can view your business with an outsider’s perspective and provide unbiased recommendations.
- Decreased downtime: A vCIO addresses IT issues, keeps your equipment running reliably, and creates IT strategies that work to prevent downtime.
- Multi-level expertise: A vCIO or vCTO is an industry veteran who has both business leadership and technical skills.
PCR Business Systems is a leader in IT solutions. Let us enhance your business with one of our expert vCIOs. Our virtual CIO services are designed for any business that’s interested in optimizing performance, having a predictable budget, and decreasing downtime.
Contact PCR today to learn more about our comprehensive services.