Companies’ accelerated their IT roadmaps, transitioning to the cloud, digitizing processes, deploying mobile devices, and more to meet the demands of a changing world during the pandemic. With an expanded, more complex IT environment to manage, more companies chose to outsource with virtual chief information officer (vCIO) services.
ASCII member Erez Zevulunov, Director and President, MIT Consulting, says the demand for vCIO services has increased dramatically in the past 12 months.
The Advantages of a vCIO
Traditionally, large businesses and enterprises with a CIO have had a distinct IT advantage over small and medium-sized (SMB) businesses. A CIO can devote time solely to optimizing the business’ IT systems, from infrastructure, hardware, software to specialized solutions. Although the CIO’s tech expertise is definitely an asset, with a seat at the C-suite table, the CIO also provides the organization with assurance that their technology decisions align with business goals.
Instead of hiring a full-time CIO, however, some organizations have found it beneficial to outsource those responsibilities to a vCIO. Besides, with the ongoing IT talent shortage, finding (and affording) a qualified and experienced CIO may be almost impossible.
Additionally, after the challenges of 2020, smaller companies that didn’t have an executive dedicated to information systems are finding their IT environments have grown so complex that they can’t manage them without a CIO.
“IT demands are rapidly changing due to how people are working, especially over the past 12 months, and things will not go back to the way it was pre-2020,” Zevulunov says. “Also, cyberattacks are up over 600 percent, and remote work has caused a huge list of issues around workspace security.”
“Companies are realizing that they can’t rely on their own research to figure out the landscape of their business any longer. The time and effort it takes to do the research now is more difficult, and companies are looking for experts that can filter the noise on the web,” he says.
Offering vCIO services in 2021
Zevulunov stresses that managed services providers (MSPs) who provided vCIO services in the past may need to make some changes to meet customer expectations in 2021. “vCIO providers need to adapt to the current needs and be relevant to the market,” he says. “Understanding and being on top of market information from various sources are key.”
He also suggests working with leading vendors to understand new solutions that are coming to market to provide an outlook for your clients and help direct them toward the technology that will give them the greatest value.
With more companies across the spectrum seeking out a vCIO, you may also have to adapt the services you provide. “It’s key that vCIOs provide a simple subscription model to their clients based on what their clients’ needs are. Some firms are looking for one day a week, and some need more handholding. Being able to offer more than one package will allow firms to adopt and buy the services,” he explains.
The Future Looks Bright for vCIOs
If you’ve toyed with the idea of providing vCIO services, now is a great time to launch them. Zevulunov says the concept of using a vCIO is just beginning, and adoption is in the very early stages, even though larger companies have used vCIO services.
“The mass market vCIO is going to be taking off as the market shifts to relying on this Resource as a Service.”
About The ASCII Group, Inc.
The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, MSSPs, VARs and solution providers. The group has over 1,300 members located throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members, including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more. ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs and VARs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit www.ascii.com