6 Key Responsibilities of a World-Class vCIO


November 18, 2020

A world-class vCIO has six responsibilities in their toolkit to eliminate gridlock and put your IT in the fast lane.

They will also help to reduce technology frustration and negative internal dialogue like this:

Okay, why is this stupid machine updating now? Great, it’s locked up, and I’ve got a Zoom call in five minutes.

No, it’s restarting. I’ve got zero time for this. So much for working from home and getting anything done.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the VPN issue earlier this week? I bet our IT department sent an email about this after it got reconnected, and I blew it off.

I was probably preoccupied with using OneDrive the right way. And by ‘right way,’ I mean in a manner that backs up my work to the corporate file share.

Oh yeah. Every time I log in, I’m supposed to click “Start” on the bottom left, type “OneDrive,” then go to the lower right-hand corner of my screen and click on the blue cloud icon.

No way, my machine is ready. It’s a miracle! Perhaps it heard me cussing and decided to play along? But now there’s no volume, and my camera doesn’t work.

Unpredictable IT environments irritate everyone with hiccups and delays that directly affect your bottom line. And the moods of your employees.

Flimsy systems also make you more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Erratic IT systems don’t materialize overnight. They evolve by default rather than by design.

Don’t worry. Help is on the way with your Integris vCIO.


What is a vCIO?

An experienced vCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer) can be a gamechanger.

A vCIO performs a very similar role to a financial planner, insurance advisor, or CPA. Each orchestrates specific tasks that maximize your wealth, improve asset performance, reduce your risk, and limit your tax liability.

Your Integris vCIO takes a similar approach to manage your organization’s digital assets, with one key exception: one individual provides strategic guidance across several different but highly interdependent technology disciplines – network, cloud, cybersecurity, business continuity, unified communications, compliance, and more.

The net effect of this integrated methodology is growth enhancement, risk reduction, and responsive IT systems your employees will love.

You’re probably saying,’ wait, I thought I was researching managed IT services.’ You are. We’re talking about vCIO because it’s over-hyped and under-delivered in the MSP marketplace.

A best-in-class vCIO might be the missing ingredient causing you to change providers more often than you have to. Or making your employees suffer road rage even when they’re not in traffic.

Here’s a quick review of six critical success factors you cannot afford to overlook.


6 Key vCIO Duties

#1 – Strategy

A strategy is ground zero. Your Integris vCIO will tie your plan and budget to a proven IT process based on industry best practices and standards.

Learn More: Technology Standards

They plan the work and work the plan to accommodate your short, medium, and long-term goals with data-driven recommendations.


#2 – Account Management

Your Integris vCIO is “information central” for all facets of your account. While a service pool of system and network engineers manage day-to-day support, the vCIO is your “Bat Phone” to billing information, agreement details, and project timelines/updates.

They schedule meetings with technology vendors whose services integrate with your network. And they know how to herd a wide variety of cats, including but not limited to telecom providers, carrier services, VoIP, security companies, software, low voltage, AV, alarm companies, etc.

Your vCIO is not only a high-level business resource; they also understand the minutia and have an alphabet soup list of IT Certifications.

These credentials are vital when engaging system engineers, network engineers, and project managers to implement your business-enabling technology.

They will also help renegotiate technology contracts to ensure you are getting the best combination of price, performance, and risk management.


#3 – Meeting Cadence

Your Integris vCIO meets with you and your Technology Planning Committee regularly: quarterly, bi-annually, or annually.

vCIOs are great planners who keep you on track. And they’re pleasantly persistent in securing face-to-face client meetings with key IT stakeholders.


#4 – Documentation

Creating, managing, and updating Network Diagrams, IT Roadmaps, and IT Project Management Plans takes time and discipline.

When you add extra work related to the administration of software maintenance agreements, licensing, warranties, vendor directories, and subscription renewals, your Integris vCIO is practically conducting “super-human” activities to help you:

  • Stay ahead of the technology lifecycle
  • Future proof your IT
  • Advance your business continuity
  • Make your technology more user friendly
  • Protect you from cyber liability

Is comprehensive documentation included in your vCIO plan? Find out. It creates a lot of overhead expenses that many MSPs are unwilling to bear.


#5 – Regulation & Compliance

Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. If Ben were around today, he would add regulation and compliance.

This is just a small survey of industry-specific frameworks your Integris vCIO can help you manage:

  • CCPA
  • GDPR
  • ISO
  • NIST
  • SOX

TCDI Security Compliance has an exhaustive list of additional examples.

Since security and compliance are constantly changing, there is no way to be 100% compliant 100% of the time.

This moving target is another area where documentation can be your best friend. If you have a breach or a legal incident, proper IT system documentation can be used as proof of due care to lower your liability.

Reliable documentation also strengthens your case if prospective clients require you to sign a Business Associate Agreement.


#6 – Experience

Is your vCIO an executive with at least 20 years of MSP and corporate IT department experience? Or a junior-level account executive?

Many MSPs employ commissioned salespeople who deliver vCIO “Lite.” At Integris, our vCIOs are seasoned consultants whose compensation is based on your success and satisfaction. If you grow with us, they grow with us. This factor creates an extra level of accountability.


Mastering the Learning Curve

Aren’t you glad the world has subject matter experts and proven systems to manage all of these complicated, moving parts?

I certainly don’t have this skill set. Instead, I enjoy the fruits of a sound vCIO practice whenever I log into the Integris network. It’s fast, secure, and convenient, and everything gets backed up.

Does your team have the same experience?

We look forward to helping you evaluate the merits of vCIO, answering any additional questions, and being a sounding board in your educational journey.


Jed is a Solution Advisor at Integris who has specialized in MSP solution development, sales, and marketing communications since 2003.

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