Maybe you’ve heard someone talking about it, or maybe you’ve come across the term online: vCIO. Let’s talk about it. What is a vCIO? There are significant differences between IT Support and IT Support with a vCIO.
In this blog, you’ll learn what a vCIO does and how this service benefits small businesses.
Of course, general IT support services can be valuable on their own, but to make real gains in technology maturity, you need strategic experts who understand the technology leaps that are necessary to make things happen. You want to accomplish business goals, after all.
If your small business is in Eugene, please listen up!
A vCIO is your Virtual Chief Information officer, sometimes also referred to as a virtual CIO. vCIO is a term for 3rd parties that offer their services to organizations, standing in place of a full-time CIO. vCIOs are especially important to small and medium businesses that cannot or do not want to make the leap to a full-time CIO. Having a vCIO on your side means meeting your goals more efficiently and successfully.
A vCIO works with you to outline your organizational goals and highlight specific areas in need of improvement. Things like IT strategy development, cybersecurity, employee onboarding policies, disaster recovery, asset management, and integrations are all on the radar of your vCIO.
Goal Setting with a vCIO
It’s important that you outline your organizational goals, as well as highlight the specific areas of improvement that you’d like your vCIO to help with.
An organizational goal may be that your company will open a second office…That’s a great goal! What are some of the technological requirements that need to be sorted out first? A vCIO can help with that.
Does your organization fall victim to annoying software that seems to be working against you, never with you? Are you losing productivity because of outdated, manual tasks? A vCIO will understand these common barriers and will leverage their expert IT knowledge and leadership to get you on a path to success.
How often will you speak with them?
Your vCIO first needs to consult with you in depth in order to understand the current state of affairs. This will involve a full assessment of your IT landscape, policies, and internal structure.
Depending on your unique goals and areas needing improvement, you may need to speak with your vCIO on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis to ensure you’re on track.
Developing an IT Roadmap
A robust and comprehensive path to success means that your vCIO needs to develop an IT Roadmap. This IT Roadmap serves as a fantastic planning tool in order to align the expectations including both short and long-term planning and goals for your organization..
The vCIO must oversee all aspects of information technology and articulate IT plans within this roadmap.
Developing a comprehensive IT Roadmap involves:
- A comprehensive understanding of IT assets, applications, cloud services, software vendors, licensing agreements, and cybersecurity.
- The expertise of your vCIO, with years of experience in selecting the best-fit software and services for the customer organization. This requires a balance between cost, functionality, and work efficiency.
- Asset management. This includes oversight of domain name registrations, SSL certificates, cloud service agreements, hardware, and software.
- Disaster recovery programs and a business continuity plan.
- Developing a cybersecurity policy, with both written and machine-enforced policies.
- Employee onboarding and offboarding. This may include creating/archiving accounts, transferring data, training, etc.
Once the IT Roadmap has captured the critical components, the vCIO typically works with you to manage compliance and progress.
A vCIO will not only help you proactively plan for the future, they will grow with your organization and help you as challenges pop up along the way.
It’s incredibly important to establish a cadence of progress reporting and expectations – both on the client’s end and the vCIO’s end.
Meetings, often referred to as Strategic Business Reviews (SBR), will include a review of the IT Roadmap progress, any potential roadblocks or barriers, and you’ll take the time to discuss the strategy of your business.
The vCIO will typically report on the following topics during progress meetings:
- Asset lifecycle management. This means keeping track of computer hardware and software and providing reports for budgeting purposes.
- Also in line with the budgeting process, the vCIO makes recommendations and provides estimates for additional projects. The vCIO can look back at historical IT spend to help make decisions in this department.
- Relationship health and partnership alignment. Are the roles in IT meeting expectations? Is the vCIO meeting expectations?
All in all, bringing on a vCIO will not only be a cost-effective solution to your IT challenges, they serve as a trusted advisor, dedicated to ensuring your organization grows.
As technology continues to emerge, those who employ the best resources and stay on top of the digital landscape will have a sharp competitive advantage.