IT Insight: Leverage technology within your budget with a virtual CIO

When it comes to your business IT infrastructure, is there anyone that even knows where to begin when  devising a long-term technology plan? While a compensation plan for a full-time Chief Information Officer can net $500K plus incentives, benefits, and bonus, hiring a Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) saves you the time and effort of hiring proficient, costly talent at a fraction of the price.

Most small businesses are very reactive, looking primarily at costs, not at a true technology plan which is valuable to drive their business. For a small to mid-sized business, a part-time “Virtual” Chief Information Officer will ensure that technology expenditures are planned and executed so that technology can support the business goals of your company.  This person will enable you to understand how your technology investment will ultimately enable you to be more productive and reduce risk.

The vCIO is really looking at where technology can be used to leverage your business goals.  In a small to mid-size business, your day-to-day business goals are more than just IT. You are busy dealing with employees, vendors, facilities, you’re dealing with products and problems. With that understanding, your vCIO can tie a technology plan to those goals. IT is complex and a vCIO will be your general counsel for all things IT. Businesses need to take their cash and use it where they can benefit the most from it. A solid vCIO wants your network in place structurally, meeting the needs and growth of your business and is always actively engaged.

The key benefits of having a vCIO start with your technology plan. Where do you want to be in the next 1, 3, 5 years? What are the current issues to resolve? Are your goals within your budget?  Have you addressed your cyber insurance and tightened your security posture against cyber-attacks and ransomware? Your vCio will review the compliance requirements, depending on your industry, whether you are medical, manufacturing, legal, municipal, and work with your project management team on establishing the necessities of a solid IT infrastructure. Are there issues in areas of  workflow or collaboration, the way people are using Teams and Zoom and remote workforce? Meeting your business goals and IT issues and utilizing IT to leverage and support those business goals is the intent of your vCIO. Of course, understanding every dollar your business is spending, what it is for, how it is going to help the business, and ultimately, how it is going to make you money is key.

An MSP, such as Portsmouth Computer Group (PCGit), wants to help maximize your IT investment and the productivity of your staff. Your vCIO will make sure there is training in place to review their workflow, security training, and training on your line of business applications. One of the most important things we offer are employee interviews. Instead of just getting feedback from the leadership team, we like to find out what is right, what is wrong, what is missing or confusing for the employees. The results from these interviews are amazing and the feedback we bring back to the leadership team is instrumental in leveraging IT and value. Many times, the client is just focused on the cost, not the value. At Portsmouth Computer Group, we have a security and  technical team that is always looking at how technology can impact your business with a predictable spend.

Ultimately, the vCIO adds value to your business. A technology focused team, looking at what is current and in your best business interest, will minimize risk and help you to meet your business goals and vision for your future.

JoAnn Hodgdon is vice president and co-founder of Portsmouth Computer Group (PCGiT) with her husband David. PCG provides comprehensive managed IT services, business continuity, security, cloud computing and Virtual CIO services to their clients.  You may reach her at  or at