In a growing company, there comes a point when the board needs access to an IT skilled person who talks ‘business’ to help build a business strategy. Often the IT manager has grown into the role and is very technically competent. However, they can struggle when it comes to communicating the potential business advantages of a digital transformation.
A board-level IT Director will often command a six-figure salary so businesses will need access to those skills on an interim or part-time basis – a ‘virtual’ CIO or IT Director.
We invited the groups Managing Director, Jeff Dodd to come and talk to us about ‘virtual’ IT Directors and how they work. Here is what he had to say…
What does a ‘virtual’ IT Director do?
A ‘virtual’ IT Director can work in many different ways depending on what your organisation requires them for. Largely, they are there to sit with the board of directors, assisting in making strategic decisions when it comes to the IT strategy of the business. The experience and knowledge to deliver on time, justify costs and ensure it all aligns with the overall business strategy is essential for a ‘virtual’ IT Director.
It can be a challenge for organisations when hiring a permanent IT Director. Firstly, because they come at a very high cost, and secondly, because a particular skill set is needed to carry out the role efficiently. A ‘virtual’ IT Director, can not only fill the gap until you are ready/ are big enough to hire a permanent IT Director, but mentor and train up any existing IT managers that perhaps don’t have the experience and skill set to carry out the role immediately.
What timescale do ‘virtual’ IT Directors work on?
The timescale ‘virtual’ IT Directors work on again depend on what your organisation requires them for. They generally range from 6 months to 2 years in length, however, this is all dependant on your needs.
In terms of how involved they are with your organisations, it can vary from turning up to board meetings and pitching strategic plans, to going in the office 2-3 days a week and working alongside the staff. Additionally, they can also work fulltime at your organisation for a period of time. A lot of the work a ‘virtual’ IT Director does can also be done remotely.
Why would an organisation look for a ‘virtual’ IT Director?
There are many reasons that an organisation will look for a ‘virtual’ IT Director, these include:
- If they are struggling to recruit someone for a permanent role
- If they need help restructuring their IT team to support the business and its overall strategy
- If they are planning a big project and need someone to deliver, manage time, cost and quality of reporting
- If they are growing rapidly and their IT has fallen behind or they know they need to change something but want independent (not vendor) advice
- If they need to replace a current IT Director and can’t afford to be leaderless whilst they recruit for a new one
- If they need someone to help them become more efficient and make sure projects run on time
- If they know they need help but can’t afford to fork out the high costs that come with hiring a permanent IT Director
- If they have a current member of staff that doesn’t yet have the skills to be an IT Director but could, with the right mentoring
What types of organisations have you worked for in the past as their ‘virtual’ IT Director?
I have worked with a range of different organisations in the UK and abroad all with slightly different needs:
- A fintech company who were beginning operations in the UK wanted a development and go to market strategy. Duration: Part-time for two years.
- A financial organisation who needed a Program Manager for an ambitious relaunch strategy; this role morphed into an interim CIO whilst we searched for a heavyweight candidate to join the board. Duration: Part-time for a year.
A ‘virtual’ IT Director can help you build with strategic plans, implement on time, recruit the right team and so much more. Furthermore, it can be very tax effective. If you’re interested in finding out more about how we can offer you ‘virtual’ resources, please get in touch.