Do You Need a vCIO? Outsourcing IT Guidance
What is a vCIO?
A vCIO, or a Virtual Chief Information Officer, is a person who provides IT consulting for your strategy as a third party, as opposed to an in-house CIO. vCIOs oversee your entire IT infrastructure, ensuring everything in your network is running smoothly.
Many small- to medium-sized businesses realize digital transformation is necessary for their company to remain competitive, but have budgetary concerns regarding their IT departments. In fact, 75% of SMBs outsource at least some of their IT to a managed service provider. MSPs, like Merit Technologies, can step in to be an effective and affordable tool for implementing and maintaining IT solutions for small businesses.
Having a vCIO partner is the best way to get personalized, expert IT guidance. Here are some of the advantages of outsourcing:
1. A vCIO Serves As A Technology Liaison for Your Company
A quality partner should be able to provide exclusive focus on your business as a reliable point of contact for technological expertise. Though virtual in nature, the relationship between major decision-makers and the vCIO should be strong, productive, and personal.
When looking for a solid vCIO, ask your MSP these questions:
- How often are they available?
- How often will you speak with them?
- What kind of proactive guidance and expertise will they provide?
You should ask the MSP about their existing relationships with other SMBs to get a more informed perspective of what your vCIO relationship will likely look like before diving in.
2. Technical Reporting
A part of the vCIO’s close relationship with the client revolves around periodic meetings between yourself and the vCIO in order to reflect, assess, and take action on the changing goals of your organization. Meeting frequency should be determined by what you are comfortable with, but will usually take place on a quarterly basis.
Generating reports can cover and assess areas of your business important to you, such as:
- Completed and in-progress projects
- Compliance needs
- Near- and long-term IT projects and expenses
- Partnership alignment
- Relationship health
- Support metrics
- Satisfaction scores
A vCIO is the bridge between your company and the technology teams powering your digital transformation. It’s important to have periodic and detailed reports on the progress of your infrastructure and to have specific, actionable data available to determine your future goals as they relate to your company’s vision.
3. Technology Roadmap Planning and Discovering IT Objectives
The consultation provided by your vCIO determines the direction and prospective implementations for your business long-term.
Your partner should be able to answer questions about your technology suite involving issues like:
- Cybersecurity training
- Disaster recovery
- Employee onboarding
- Intellectual property protection
They can recommend and maintain vendor relationships for your productivity and line-of-business application suites, as well as verify compatibility between vendors and your existing or planned IT infrastructure. Great vCIOs are proactive and plan proposals for new projects to improve the business’s long-term prospects, and define these objectives based on your specific needs and your budgetary constraints.
As relationship-focused IT experts, they focus on providing you with a strong recommendation framework that is consistently modified as your organization’s goals evolve.
4. Reduced Costs
We can’t forget about one of the most important considerations decision-makers are making in their digital transformations, the cost. Partnering with an MSP is a much more cost-effective way of hiring an internal IT team to keep your tech infrastructure running smoothly.
Hiring and retaining a full-time salaried on-site CIO can be costly for small businesses that may or may not have the funds to do so. Instead, they can partner with an MSP that provides a vCIO—in addition to a host of support staff and engineers.
The Bottom Line
Here are some major takeaways:
- vCIOs provide expert IT consultation and guidance to SMBs
- Not all vCIO services are equal. Make sure your MSP is providing the services you require
- A positive and productive relationship between the vCIO and the main decision-makers is essential
- Outsourcing a vCIO is efficient and cost-effective for SMBs pursuing managed IT services on a budget