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Brian Bakkila, NetSmart Plus Sales Operations Manager

Frequently Asked Questions about vCIOs

In the IT Managed Services industry, the term vCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer) gets a lot of buzz and attention. If you’re considering hiring a CIO (Chief Information Officer) for your organization or entertaining the idea of contracting with a MSP that provides the vCIO service into your ecosystem, it’s important to understand the difference.  As a Managed Service Provider, questions are often presented to us to identify those differences and how the vCIO offering can impact certain operations within an organization. Below you will find the Top 3 Frequently Asked Questions about Virtual Chief Information Officers.

What is the positioning of the vCIO?

If your organization requires a Chief Information Officer, that individual should be driving your Information Technology spend to support the business. If a CIO’s (or vCIO’s) job description does not include analyzing and understanding your business, its strategic vision, and competitive advantages, then you’re not procuring the correct person by your side. Their primary role is to advocate for your business, whether it be with a vendor a business problem, or optimizing technology.

What is the role of the vCIO in my budgeting process?

As stated above, a vCIO focuses heavily on your business, the challenges, and how technology impacts those objectives in order to align spending. They should also create a plan to upgrade assets and protect legacy systems from security risks to keep the user experience high. Additionally, a vCIO should be able to assess risks and advocate for solutions that you may not be aware of. The vCIO role should also facilitate adjustments to budget and articulate the impact to a different initiative if necessary.

What is the correct level of vCIO engagement?

This is huge variable for different organizations and has a lot to do with the level of IT operations maturity that is in place. Organizations with developed IT operations, that require little change can be sustained by minimal engagement of vCIO services. On the other side, an organization with an IT structure undergoing substantial. Growth or change could have a significant positive impact with a vCIO. The key is to understand the scope of vCIO services offered to make sure the contract supports the level of engagement required. A MSP can identify this during the discover and sales process and explain the level of service offered

Many Managed Service Providers (MSPs) include the vCIO service in their contracts with their clients or offer them in an a-la-carte manner. Developing an understanding on all three points mentioned above will help to maximize the impact of vCIO services in your organization.