orange background with blue text

What is a Virtual CIO?

Published June 2022

Virtual CIOs provide the leadership and expertise to build, grow, and maintain reliable data architecture.  They are often hired by midsized companies that are looking for a trusted authority to drive data architecture and the supporting team.

Virtual CIOs are also referred to as vCIOs, fractional CIOs, part-time CIOs, and CIOs for hire.

What does a virtual CIO do?

A virtual CIO takes on all of the tasks of a full-time CIO.

Align business and IT.   vCIOs work with the c-suite to understand current business needs and future plans. In turn, the vCIO drives the design and implementation of data architecture.

Build Supporting Team.   Just like a full-time CIO, virtual CIOs build the technology team to implement and maintain reliable data infrastructure.  This can include hiring, training, and managing the team.

Strategic Planning.  Fractional CIOs provide the leadership for strategic planning to keep the company’s data infrastructure in step with the company’s business needs and goals.

Budgeting.  vCIOs manage budgeting for their projects and teams.

Soft skills.  CIOs for hire bring important soft skills to effectively communicate with both business-minded and tech-minded executives and teams, translating business needs into tech solutions.  

Why hire a virtual CIO?

Virtual CIOs are typically hired for a monthly fee at a lower cost than employing a full-time CIO.  This makes them more affordable for midsized companies.

Bringing on a vCIO is also a faster process than hiring a new employee.  Contracting can often be completed in a week or two.

A third benefit to hiring a virtual CIO is that they have up-to-date knowledge of the best tools and approaches for building reliable data infrastructure, being able to identify what tools are hype and what works. 

How much does a virtual CIO cost?

There are two factors to consider when evaluating the cost of a vCIO:  monthly fees and cost savings.  

Monthly fee.  The fee for a virtual CIO working two days a week typically runs between $15,000 and $25,000 per month.

Cost savings.  When looking for a virtual CIO, choose one that focuses on using free, open source tools whenever possible.  Using open source tools, like OpenSearch and Apache Kafka, over paid alternatives like MongoDB and Confluent, will save your company hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year depending on the size of your clusters.  This savings will far outweigh the monthly fee for the fractional CIO.

vCIO Services

Dattell provides virtual CIO services with a focus on using free, open source tools to build fast, reliable data infrastructure that scales.  

We’ve saved our clients $100M+ over the past six years by migrating them to free, open source tools and optimizing their use of hardware, without compromising performance.

Published by

Dattell - Kafka & Elasticsearch Support

Benefit from the experience of our Kafka, Pulsar, Elasticsearch, and OpenSearch expert services to help your team deploy and maintain high-performance platforms that scale. We support Kafka, Elasticsearch, and OpenSearch both on-prem and in the cloud, whether on stand alone clusters or running within Kubernetes. We’ve saved our clients $100M+ over the past six years. Without our guidance companies tend to overspend on hardware or purchase unnecessary licenses. We typically save clients multiples more money than our fees cost in addition to building, optimizing, and supporting fault-tolerant, highly available architectures.