IT outsourcing is trending around the world. Technavio reports the market is growing at a CAGR of 4 percent. That means you can expect the market to increase by $79.55 billion from 2017 to 2022. Technavio also reports that the market is “highly fragmented,” with market share distributed across a broad field of providers. As a managed services provider (MSP) or value-added reseller (VAR), you can be content to be a part of the pack, or you can elevate your value propositions and brand visibility by providing Virtual CIO (vCIO) services.
Why Businesses and Organization Need You
Multiple factors are driving the increased demand for outsourced IT services, including:
- In general, in-house IT staff is overworked, and the more progress their organization makes toward digital transformation, the more is on their plates.
- The technology talent shortage is making it hard for businesses to find applicants to fill in-house IT positions affordably — so, they may not have in-house IT staff at all.
- Outsourced providers take a proactive approach to IT; MSPs and VARs keep systems maintained and operational, rather than waiting for something to break and causing downtime.
- The cybersecurity landscape is changing so quickly that it’s difficult for businesses and organizations to keep up.
Many MSPs, Few vCIOs
Businesses overwhelmed by these challenges are asking peers and searching the web for IT service providers to help them, but, unfortunately, often with blinders on. A prospect may turn to a VAR or MSP for a Desktop as a Service solution, but even a top-of-the-line solution may not be the right choice when you consider the business’ overall system, infrastructure, users, business continuity plan, or goals.
The most effective way to manage IT is with a comprehensive plan, addressing the company’s current needs and planning for what it will need when growth or change occurs. In organizations with no one tasked with overseeing IT, it often doesn’t happen. Instead, a company sees a particular need and may find a standalone solution.
The underlying problem is that businesses purchasing IT solutions and services aren’t technology experts. Unless they have a chief information officer (CIO), no one is setting goals, optimizing efficiency through integration, and building a plan to future-proof the organization’s IT investment.
Do You Offer MSP or vCIO Services?
Some businesses — even VARs or MSPs themselves — equate outsourced IT or managed services with vCIO offerings. However, that’s not the case. Although you may work hard to reach the status of trusted advisor with your clients, you may not fulfill the role of a vCIO. Taking that responsibility means meeting (virtually, and sometimes physically) at the executives’ table. As a vCIO, you need to put your customer’s IT needs before your own, helping them to select the best solutions, plan and budget, even if what you determine as an optimal solution doesn’t mean the highest revenue or profits for your company.
Some businesses will want to work with one provider for vCIO services and all other IT needs; others may want their vCIO services provider to be separate from contracts with MSPs or VARs to ensure there is no bias that could result in them using less-than-optimal solutions or paying too much.
There are few true vCIO services providers in the fragmented outsourced IT market that Technavio reports. Is this the strategy you need to differentiate your business?