A Virtual Chief Information Officer, or vCIO, is a third-party consultant who advises you on your technology strategy rather than an in-house CIO.
They manage the client’s complete IT infrastructure, ensuring that everything in the company’s network is running well.
Many SMBs have concluded that digital transformation is a vital step for their firm to remain competitive, but many are concerned about funding constraints in their IT departments.
This is where MSPs may help small businesses by providing an efficient and cheap tool for establishing and maintaining IT systems.
They will assign you a virtual CIO to supervise your technology operations, as well as future implementations and basic maintenance.
The Key Expectations You Should Have of a Good VCIO.
It’s critical to recognize that the job of a vCIO service differs greatly between managed service providers.
Many MSPs will provide vCIO services to their clients, but the quality of the assistance they provide can (and should) be a deal-breaker for SMBs seeking a holistic support model.
Many new MSPs will provide vCIOs who are little more than glorified salesmen, which is useless to any SMB serious about digital transformation.
Ensure that your partnership with your vCIO gives you with the benefits you require to expand your organization.
At Impact, for example, our vCIOs offer a variety of services to enterprises.
Here are some of the primary benefits of having a virtual CIO on your team:
1. Your Company’s Own Technology Liaison
A good vCIO should be able to give a single point of contact for technological expertise while remaining solely focused on your business.
A STAGGERING 71% OF BUSINESSES HAVE ORPHANED SUBSCRIPTIONS (COMMONLY IN THE FORM OF LEGACY SOFTWARE THAT IS NO LONGER FIT FOR PURPOSE), WITH EACH HAVING ON AVERAGE THREE. YOU ARE EFFECTIVELY CARRYING DEAD WEIGHT IN YOUR ORGANIZATION IF YOU HAVE ORPHANED TECHNOLOGY.
Despite the moniker, the decision maker’s relationship with the vCIO should be firm, productive, and personal.
When are they available? How frequently will you communicate with them? What type of proactive advice and expertise can they offer?
These are the kinds of questions you need to know the answers to before you can be satisfied with the MSP.
In order to obtain a different perspective on what your vCIO relationship will likely look like, ask the MSP about their existing connections with other SMBs.
2. Client-facing technical reporting
As part of the vCIO’s intimate engagement with the client, you should expect occasional meetings between yourself and the vCIO to review, reflect, and act on your organization’s changing goals. These should be set by your comfort level, but will commonly occur on a quarterly basis.
These reports allow you to evaluate a variety of topics that are relevant to you:
IT initiatives and costs for the near and long term
Support metrics and customer satisfaction ratings
Projects completed and in flight
Partnership alignment and relationship health
The vCIO serves as a liaison between your organization and the technology teams driving your digital transformation.
It is critical to have regular and detailed updates on the success of your infrastructure, as well as actionable data to establish your future goals.
3. Establishes IT goals and plans the technology roadmap
This is a critical component of what makes a vCIO a crucial part of your company’s digital transformation moving forward.
The vCIO consultation identifies the long-term strategy and probable implementations for your organization.
The vCIO should be able to answer inquiries about your technology stack, including:
- Protection of intellectual property
- Recovery after a disaster
- Employee orientation
- Cybersecurity education
They can recommend and maintain vendor connections for your productivity and line-of-business application suites, as well as ensure vendor compatibility with your existing or future IT infrastructure.
A competent vCIO is proactive and should plan ideas for new projects to improve the company’s long-term prospects, and these objectives should be defined based on your needs and expectations.
They should be focused on giving you a strong recommendation framework that is regularly adjusted as your organization’s goals change.
4. The Price Factor
Let us not forget one of the most crucial aspects for decision-makers in their digital transformations: cost.
89% OF COMPANIES EXPECT TO GROW OR MAINTAIN THEIR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY BUDGETS THIS YEAR.
Working with an MSP is a relatively inexpensive option to hire an IT team to keep your IT infrastructure working properly.
For small organizations, hiring a full-time salaried on-site CIO might be costly.
SMB owners who do not have the finances to engage IT professionals directly can instead work with an MSP that provides a vCIO as well as a slew of support staff and engineers.