If you use technology in your daily operations, you need someone to direct the approach and ensure that it supports the goals of the company. Some businesses pay triple-digit salaries for a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to do this job in-house — but with the help of an XL.net Technology Officer, you can get the same services for just a portion of the cost, plus many other benefits unique to XL.net.
A partnership with XL.net offers you the services of a fractional or Virtual Chief Information Officer (VCIO) — a consultant that accomplishes many of the same tasks as a CIO. We offer these CTO services to Chicago SMBs to help them meet their goals.
Our Technology Officers can steer technology at your company in the right direction with fractional CIO services. There are three things you need from your Technology Officer:
Your Technology Officer needs to be aware of staying within budget solutions that exist in the market and of the needs of each of your departments. They typically have an exceptional knowledge of trends in the market and new technologies that can help you meet your goals without breaking the bank.
You need a destination and a plan to get you there. Your plan should map out annual goals and projects that line up with priorities across your organization.
Technology without results is waste. You need technology to help you achieve your business goals faster and more efficiently. A Technology Officer can help you achieve successful results with clear, transparent and documented metrics.
Let’s review each of these three items needed for successful VCIO services in Chicago and how XL.net addresses them.
There are hundreds of thousands of different technology solutions on the market. The largest research organization in the world, Gartner, researches over 300 categories of technology solutions.
That’s a lot of categories, so much that we could not even fit it on a legible single image.
With COVID-19, remote work tools became mission-critical for most. Take a look at just that category:
Again, that’s for a single category, and we couldn’t even fit everything on the page, let alone make it legible.
Our Technology Officers have to be aware of the subset of technology solutions available that could be within budget for our clients and appropriate to solve the types of issues and opportunities they deal with.
Luckily, we focus exclusively on clients of similar size and complexity. We cater to SMBs, making our Technology Officers particularly well-suited to serving these types of organizations. They’re more than ready to find the ideal solution for the unique challenges that face SMBs.
To understand which technology solutions are viable for your business, we take the following steps:
Technology without a strategy is like going to an unknown destination without a map. Knowing the destination and having a map come together in the TAP. Below is a sample of the information provided in a TAP.
You’ll notice that the TAP covers short-term and long-term goals, providing project suggestions and a rundown of your goals and issues.
Our Technology Officers create a TAP for you annually by interviewing the head of each of your departments individually. We ask everyone the same questions to gather a comprehensive view of your organization and workflow, and we document all the answers. The document with those answers is, on average, 18 pages long.
We take the 18-page document and, based on our awareness of the technology solutions that companies similar to your size and complexity have succeeded with, we create a draft TAP like the one above.
Then, we meet with you for 45 minutes to an hour and make sure the plan developed is the right one for you. We provide you with the 18-page document and number the interview answers so you can see all of the comments that went into an annual goal or project.
Once the TAP is approved, we begin our work to complete the Business Model Canvas:
Your Business Model Canvas allows us to more deeply understand all the critical aspects of your business and how technology can influence them. Some of the areas covered include partner and client communications, key activities, your value proposition, customer makeup, budgets and resources.
Next, we put together a Technology Committee with a champion from each of your departments. The purpose of the Technology Committee is to accomplish the following on a quarterly basis:
This committee can boost communications and help ensure the goals of the TAP are distributed throughout the company.
You need results from your technology department — results that move your business forward faster and more efficiently, metric-based results that you can track, so that you know what value your technology department is providing to your business.
Your fractional CIO services should achieve and show results. There are four metrics that we track with you to jointly assess the value your business is getting:
With all of these metrics and a keen eye, your Technology Officer can watch for growth, areas for improvement and new opportunities. If you want to truly understand the value of your technology, results like these are essential.
An XL.net Technology Officer conducts CTO strategic planning for Chicago SMBs with all of the above qualities in mind. Our Technology Officers are full of industry knowledge and strategic ideas. Plus, they know the value of documentation and measurable results and can use them to help you align your technology with the goals of your company.
In addition to the help of a Technology Officer, XL.net clients get the assistance of the well-trained, qualified team of experts behind our various services. Here at XL.net, we’re all about growth and results. We believe there’s always a way to do better, and our virtual CIO services can help you get there.
To learn more about our CTO services in Chicago and the surrounding areas, reach out to us today. We’d love to get started creating your TAP and developing the plan to grow your business with aligned technology.