What everyone wants to know about hiring a Chief Information Officer (CIO) / Chief Technical Officer (CTO).
This article will try to answer some of the questions that you have, so that you can make informed decisions that help you reduce your costs, increase your productivity and most importantly gives you the visibility that only comes from engaging with someone who speaks your language.
We are publishing this article because we feel that whilst IT operations are successfully managed by organisations; IT Strategy is often overlooked or worse still left to the strategists who are often not best placed to translate the business message.
Below is a short list of some of the common questions we are regularly asked when talking to organisations such as yours about Strategic IT management.
Common Questions include:
We understand that a CIO/CTO would be useful but the Cost is prohibitively expensive: With a good CTO/CIO costing upward of a hundred thousand pounds a year you could be forgiven for thinking this is the main reason for not getting one. However, cost is only one aspect of the story as some of the other questions will highlight. Our solution provides you with a CIO/CTO when you need them providing very experienced senior level management at a fraction of the normal costs that are associated with this role.
This is outsourcing which is never a good thing. Actually this is absolutely the opposite. Everyone who is an associate to Nico Consultancy works directly for you, we just take away all the liabilities that come with an employee and give you a central escalation point if required. This is insourcing, of a member of your team who has a special set of skills that you can call upon when you need them.
We tried this before and it ended up costing a lot of money on failed projects: The problem with a permanent CIO/CTO, is that they are looking to make a name for themselves, either to advance and gain recognition in the organisation or as a stepping stone to move onto a bigger opportunity. It is often in their interest, rather than your organisation’s interest, to introduce a big money spending project to your organisation. We are the opposite, we are there to deliver a service and save you money. Our CIO/CTO’s have years of experience. They are not looking to make a name for themselves, they are looking to have a couple of clients where they can help to make a real difference.
You can’t beat having a person available all the time: A CTO/CIO is a strategist; you need them to be available when you need them. We recommend having a number of days a month available for them to come on site after which they will be available on the telephone to assist. We feel that you actually get a better service as your CIO/CTO is always looking at new innovations and better ways to maximise the efficiencies of yours and the other organisations they work with. More importantly you don’t get one CIO/CTO, you get access to a number of them, we work collaboratively so you always get the answers you need to enable you to make your difficult decision.
We bring in a team of consultants when we need them, this minimises the risks and we get a number of different perspectives. This approach is not wrong and I am sure there will be times when we suggest the same approach, however, we have a team of senior managers who are available to assist you if required. This isn’t one CIO/CTO; this is your manager who comes with the backing of a whole team of experienced experts at his disposal.
We have a great IT person already this is just a waste of money. We are not trying to replace your technologists, far from it, we are trying to free them up so that they can concentrate on delivering to your organisation. What we are doing is supplementing them and acting as a translator between your technology and business language, translating perfectly so that there are no misunderstandings. Projects get delivered more efficiently when we all talk the same language, issues are understood and communicated in the appropriate way, so that you and your IT teams can make informed decisions. We speak business and IT fluently, ensuring that there is no confusion or misunderstandings.
How do I know we will get on with this person? We match the CIO/CTO to your organisations requirements and culture to ensure that they are able to deliver from day one. Our aim is to provide you with someone who meets your requirements on all levels. We are seen by many of our customers as not only trusted advisors but also as trusted friends.
What happens if this doesn’t work, it cost my company a lot of money last time we employed a CIO/CTO? Our CIO/CTO work for you in a consultancy capacity only, so if you think it’s not for you cancel the contract. If it is a personality problem, we have a number of senior people, we will always try and ensure the best match but sometimes you or we may say, actually there is a better fit or we need a different set of skills. We have the flexibility to be able to change which is far more difficult after you have engaged a permanent employee.
I am not comfortable having a contractor sitting on my board. Our CIO/CTO work for you, they are well aware that there is sensitive information and confidentiality is paramount to everything we do. We would not recommend them if their integrity was not beyond question. As you are getting to know them we would recommend inviting them on to the board meeting when required. As you become more comfortable and confident in their ability, you can bring them further into your critical decision making team. Obviously the more we are engaged the better we are able to assist and we are confident that you will quickly see the benefits of the service.
IT isn’t represented on the board, one of our director’s acts on their behalf. This is common in business, however, someone who is not trained or experienced in IT, no matter how intelligent will never be able to communicate to the board or the IT team as effectively as someone who specialises in this role. IT traditionally sat with the Finance director as they were the only people who used technology, those days have long gone and IT underpins everything an organisation does; so why treat it differently to your accounting system or any other critical business function. We specialise in this work, freeing up your finance director or other senior director to do what they do best.
We get contractors in when we need them, what makes you any different? We work for you, our interests and aspirations are in line with your organisation. A contractor is looking to maximise their return not yours, their job is to get as much as they can and to try and upsell everything, where as we are there precisely to ensure that you are getting value for money on all your IT expenditure.
We have worked ok up to now without this resource, what makes you think you can do it better? Up until now you have relied on your management to make decisions that your IT will try and deliver. IT operations and IT management are two very different beasts, granted there will be cross over but a good analogy is the difference between someone who drives a Jaguar XJS motor car and someone who drives an F1 motor car for a living. In principle they are both the same but as we know in practise they require a very different and unique set of skills.
I don’t have the time to bring this person up to speed and my IT won’t like this intrusion. To answer the first question, all of our CIO/CTO’s are very experienced and are not in the habit of wasting time. We only ask the questions that we need to get up to speed. On the Technology side we work with your IT staff and quickly show them that having us on the team is actually a benefit. We act as a screen between the business and IT, translating business requirements into technical deliverables that they understand.
These are just some of the common questions that we are regularly asked. If you have a specific question or would like to understand how we can deliver real business value, then contact us today: