Most small to medium businesses cannot afford to employ a full-time Chief Information Officer (CIO), who is responsible for appropriate technology review and planning. Simply imagine having to allocate as much as $250,000 annually just to tap in a competitive IT expert for your team.
Despite this predicament among the said companies, there is a solution that managed service providers (MSPs) have provided – virtual chief information officer or vCIO. This can boost your ability to take a competitive advantage of technology and stop procrastinating due to cost control.
With vCIO, companies will be able to reap tons of benefits relative to achieving their objectives. These advantages include getting a team of technology experts without worrying about extra operating costs, an influx of learning to ensure your company is investing in the right technology, and better information security implementation.
On the other hand, if you are in the managed services space itself and you are keen to offer vCIO services to your clients given the latest trend, take note that it is not easy as it sounds. There are still mistakes that MSPs are trapped in, which, fortunately, they can be prevented through learning about it.
If you are interested to provide virtual CIO services, remember that it is not simply about suggesting that your client must use a firewall or a new system for a certain department of their organization. The entirety of the service requires relentless commitment, careful planning, and impudent creation of strategies.
To guarantee you can offer an effective vCIO service, you should avoid these mishaps:
Incorrect Rhythm of vCIO Service Implementation.
An efficient virtual CIO service is done at regular intervals. For instance, you could set a schedule when a client will receive IT improvement recommendations, such as yearly, twice a year, or every quarter. Never let your service be unpredictable given this will affect the IT improvement plan detrimentally in the long run. Oftentimes, this mistake causes failure in plan execution.
Vague Description of Service Scope.
A client must be aware of the exact role of the virtual CIO in their company once a service agreement has been signed. For instance, you could indicate that your vCIO will cover compliance and security requirements of the firm.
For you to create an assistive service, your virtual CIO should be aligned to the business’ goals and can comply with the present questions in its technology application.
There is also the common risk for new MSPs to overpromise what they can deliver. If you fail to pull a foretold objective, you may suffer from loss instead of gaining revenue. There is also a possibility that your business relationship with the client will be ruined permanently.
MSPs should draw a line in what they can offer to clients. Only take in tasks that you are certain that can be worked on. Otherwise, you should have partners that could specialize in the other offerings your client requires. To put it simply, your manpower should be sufficient.
Poor IT Introduction to Clients.
Not all clients are technology savvy, which means that not everyone of them will understand how IT can help in growing their business. If you are too focused on introducing how good you are solely, you may not even impart how valuable getting a vCIO is for them. As much as possible, learn how to explain the essence of IT implementation to their business through Layman’s term.
Omission of Developing Relationships With Fellow Executives.
Even virtual CIOs are leaders, regardless of how different their setting is compared to other executives in the client’s organization. Nonetheless, to apply effective delegation of responsibilities among members of the firm, there should be a connection with them. This does not imply that it is typically about assigning daily responsibilities but connecting with the people — to understand more of what the organization really needs, which they are a part of.
You may also cover here the great need for a virtual CIO to take note of the client’s personality. A successful business relationship is a two-way street. Therefore, if the client does not cooperate well and prefers to order around without considering the IT experts’ recommendations, this may be a red flag. Conclusively, developing relationships could also be a way for you to determine if the vCIO service will work in the said organization.
For the successful implementation of an IT improvement plan, the vCIO must be focused on his or her role. Remember, the reputation of your firm as an MSP relies on your success in solving the technology predicament of one client. Word of mouth is such a strong force that could impact how other probable clients see your business as a potential service provider.
A great vCIO is not simply enthusiastic in solving every issue in the organization but also in ensuring the business goals are not neglected, alongside the strategies that will make them happen.
Not simply because you want to impose that vCIOs are much cheaper than hiring office-based CIOs, you would already price your service too low. One good reason to avoid this is that most clients will have a deduction that your service quality is poor. Simply put yourself in the shoes of an interested lead. Apparently, if the price of service is way too low, there is a possibility that getting excellent service is far-fetched.
Set a price that defines your skills and expertise well. Do not always concentrate on competing with other MSPs’ prices.
Despite other MSPs being familiar with how vCIO works, mistakes are often met, either in the process or responsibilities involved in it. However, fending off the aforementioned errors can be done by understanding how the offer works from the point of kickstarting its process to maintaining the IT systems you will apply to a client’s business.
Lack of Strategic Background Information.
Most MSPs tend to think that every business structure is similar to another. This results in them cutting into the wrong way of making changes. Instead of gathering the necessary information relative to a firm’s technology alignment, MSPs enforce changes immediately.
There must be a full understanding of what are customer needs and requirements. One solution to this mistake is to get full control of the current information systems applied in the client’s company.
Our Narmada platform can help you jump-start the process by providing easy to use templates, dashboards and reports.