CIO Services for Companies in the Southeast

Here are a few questions we hear from prospects and clients—and how answer them:

What is a CIO?

CIO is an acronym for Chief Information Officer. In the same way that a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) controls the finances of a company, the CIO controls its Information Technology resources. Many large companies have a full time CIO who helps define IT strategy, implement IT strategic goals, and support the IT needs of all users in the company. Small and medium size companies typically use a CIO consulting firm to provide the same services. Smithware provides practical CIO services to small and medium sized companies.

What is a CTO?

CTO is an acronym for Chief Technology Officer. The CTO is a little different from the CIO in most cases. Typically, the CIO focuses on how technology can be used to benefit the employees and customers of a business. The CTO is usually found in a company where the main line of business is technology. The CTO serves to help define product architecture, determine and define ongoing product requirements by customers, and manage the implantation and support of the products.

Why would a small to medium-sized company like mine need a CIO?

Many companies start out with one primary person in charge of IT decisions. This can typically be the business owner who is also responsible for many other issues within the company. This can lead to an evolutionary mess! We all know that IT can get complicated and that things don’t always work the way you would like for them to. Many small companies just don’t have the in house experience to understand what options are available and what options should be implemented. Smithware’s CIO services help even the smallest company implement the technology that is vital to take the business to the next step. Some of our clients are small 10 to 20 employee firms with hard working individuals who need a solid and common sense technology platform on which to get their work done more efficiently and effectively. Smithware has a long history of helping businesses improve their processes using technology in creative and innovative ways. Even the smallest company can benefit from reducing paperwork, organizing work, and using existing technology more efficiently.

As CIO what services would you provide for our company?

This can vary wildly based on specific needs of each business. But for many small and medium sized enterprises, the Smithware CIO will tend to be much more “hands on” than a CIO would be in a larger enterprise. The CIO will first learn as much as possible about the business and how improvements in technology can help improve operations. Sometimes this is predominantly inwardly focused – how can we better automate business processes to improve employee efficiency? How can our current staff support more sales? Alternatively this can be outwardly focused – how can we improve our customer’s access to our products or services to drive increased business? It can also be, and often is, a combination of both. At Smithware, the end result will be that we give you a comprehensive plan to get business issues solved. Then we set out to help you solve them.

How does Smithware figure out what changes we should make in our IT environment?

This varies based on company size and the complexity of the current environment. We work with your management team to clearly set expectations about what Smithware can do for your company. First we look at your infrastructure; network, Internet connections and providers, desktops, file and print services, web services, etc. Then we put a comprehensive plan together to document and support the infrastructure. Once this plan is in place and is in process of being implemented, we work with business managers to help determine how best technology can be used to greatly enhance the performance of your business. This can include business process automation within your operation as well as improved customer facing applications to increase customer access to and satisfaction with your products and solutions.

Who implements those changes for us?

Smithware doesn’t just analyze and strategize and provide your business with CIO leadership. You can choose us to then implement the changes we’ve recommended and/or work with your in-house staff or other experts. We believe there’s huge value to our clients in that we “do” as much technology implementation work as we “do” technology planning. Smithware is already way up the curve in knowing your business and your existing technology. And so implementations are more efficient and effective with Smithware

What is Business Process Automation (BPA)?

Business Process Automation (or BPA) is a scary sounding term for a pretty basic principle. BPA is simply the task of taking the normal things that you do to conduct your business (Business Process) and automating them (Automation) with technology. Smithware recently worked with a finance company that has been in operation for years but was doing all of their business using paper forms and faxes and filing cabinets. When Smithware finished the BPA plan and implementation, the company was able to handle much more business with the same staffing levels. Customer service was increased substantially, and that’s what we call successful Business Process Automation!

How much will CIO Services from Smithware cost?

Smithware is a consulting firm, and so just like accountants, lawyers, and other consultants, we charge by the hour. We rarely bid for a complete job because “complete jobs” are very difficult to define in our market. Large enterprises have project planning staff that can write specifications for the most complicated projects in order to get RFP’s out for bids. In the small and medium size market, that level of planning is not possible. Therefore, we offer our talent and expertise at an hourly rate. This rate depends on the scope of the project. Contact us for more information.

Email or call us at 1-615-386-3030 if you have additional questions about Smithware and our services