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What is a vCIO, And Is One Right for Your Business?

David Eichkorn
01/20/2021
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My official job title is Virtual Chief Information Officer, or vCIO. Perhaps you’ve never heard of the term and are wondering, “What is a virtual CIO?”

Despite the name, there’s nothing virtual about who I am or what I do. I am a real, living, breathing person — not a hologram, chatbot or simulation — and I do real work for a lot of companies across a wide spectrum of industries.

For many Managed IT service providers, a vCIO is somewhat of a figurehead — a person who carries a title but has very little influence on impacting real change in a company’s IT infrastructure in alignment with its long-term business goals. A real vCIO will establish a trusting relationship and serve as a liaison between you and the Managed IT provider’s technology team to ensure your needs are taken care of properly.

So, what exactly do I do all day and why does it matter?


What Does a vCIO Do?

At Elevity, my job is to serve as a chief information officer for organizations that don’t have a full-time CIO on staff. A day in the life of a vCIO involves spending a lot of time in the field, digging around our customers’ wiring closets, climbing under desks, chasing down wiring diagrams, and testing their information technology infrastructures.

More importantly, as vCIO, I collaborate with and advise our clients' IT departments and perform the same functions and consulting services as a conventional CIO.

The duties of a vCIO include:
  • Formulating strategic IT goals
  • Planning an IT budget
  • Strategizing digital transformation initiatives
  • Analyzing and reworking business processes
  • Facilitating technology changes
  • Proactive cyber security assessments
  • Assisting with disaster recovery plans
  • Ensuring regulatory compliance
  • Improving overall business operations and streamlining processes
  • Providing progress reports and recommendations
  • And more

Virtual CIO services begin with a comprehensive assessment of an organization’s current technology and its limitations, gaining an understanding of business objectives, and building a roadmap to a more productive future.

RELATED: 7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a vCIO and Managed IT Partner


A vCIO Gear Guide

To give you a sense of how this all works, it may help to provide an overview of the typical vCIO gear and tools that are used to get to work inside a company’s infrastructure.

My role as a vCIO begins with a network assessment, in which I use software analysis tools and old-fashioned legwork to identify everything on a company’s network. Sometimes the tools give me all the information I need, but more often, we find issues and mysteries around every corner. “What exactly is that red wire coming from the attic and what does it do?”

 


How Much Does a vCIO Cost?

The growing need for technology and the fast pace at which it’s expanding often calls for outside expertise. Leveraging the capabilities of a virtual CIO as part of a Managed IT service agreement is surprisingly cost-effective for most companies, and pales in comparison to hiring a full-time, on-site executive position to perform similar duties.

Cost savings is just one of the many benefits of a virtual CIO. Learn more about the benefits of a vCIO by viewing the infographic below, and contact the IT experts at Elevity to explore whether it’s the right time to start working with a vCIO as part of a Managed IT service. Then, contact us to schedule a consultation where we’ll assess your situation and provide recommendations that fit your budget.

Top Six Benefits of A Virtual vCIO infographic - blog footer CTA

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