Are Hybrid CIOs the New SMB IT Consultants?

Small business employees see plenty of benefits: a more personal relationship with their managers, for instance, as well as greater opportunity for innovation than is typically found within large corporations. However, these advantages are typically offset by the challenges that are inherent in smaller firms – for instance, feeling overwhelmed by the necessity to juggle multiple roles, each of which would be its own position in a bigger organization. SMB workers are often accustomed to the reality that they must juggle two or three jobs in order to keep their own post. Managers are familiar with this difficulty, as well, but SMBs often lack the financial wriggle room needed to bring on more staff.

When it becomes clear that a certain employee is just too overworked, one common solution is to bring in outsourced labor. IT consultants, for instance, may be relied upon to lend a hand to overwhelmed IT employees on a temporary basis. IT consultants may also provide expertise regarding how to streamline operations and improve efficiency. Alternatively, a company may contract for ongoing IT managed services so as to relieve in-house workers of much of the stress of keeping an IT system operational.

However, both of these IT outsourcing techniques are quickly becoming outdated; hybrid CIOs are increasingly being tapped to serve as IT consultants, either in-house or through an outside firm. The following explains why this trend is upon us and how IT managed services and hybrid CIOs can help “fill the void” left by overburdened employees.

Why CIOs are Taking on More Roles Than Ever

Technology, meet operations. Many CIOs are enjoying the opportunity to blend their technological expertise with overall business operations. This arrangement – where a CIO of an SMB might also serve as its COO, for instance – allows greater innovation by removing internal barriers between complementary departments.

Less corporate bureaucracy = SMB competitive advantage. While the CIO of a Fortune 500 company might pity a COO/CIO hybrid, he or she might not realize the competitive advantage SMBs can see by combining roles in this way. With fewer executives and departments, SMBs with hybrid CIOs can often get a leg up on the competition.

Fewer in-house barriers with shared responsibility. IT departments of the past were often rigid, hesitant to change and highly protective of job duties. Rigidity stemmed from a concern that technology could easily be ruined in the hands of a careless worker, while change often meant that a fellow IT employee could be out of work. Hybrid CIOs eliminate yesterday’s isolation of the IT team.

How IT Managed Services can Boost Efficiency

IT consultants can provide hybrid CIOs for hire, or they can offer additional support for your in-house hybrid CIO. There are many ways an IT managed services firm can help companies ease the load of their overworked employees. Here are some ways IT consultants improve efficiency, thus allowing in-house workers to get more done in fewer hours:

  • IT consultants can resolve security problems, leading to increased efficiency and less downtime.
  • Many IT managed services offer 24-hour help so employees never have to twiddle their thumbs waiting for a certain program to work properly.
  • IT experts can also improve consistency across systems and platforms, which in turn leads to less time wasted on compatibility issues.
  • IT consultants are passionate about creating new, tech-savvy solutions to old problems. For instance, knowing that your employees need considerable initial training, your consultant may suggest creating special on-boarding videos to smooth the hiring process.
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