What is VCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer) and Why Should Every Business Have One?

What is VCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer) and Why Should Every Business Have One?

If your organization has 10 to 500 employees, and they use computers to accomplish their daily work, you’ve probably had a rude awakening at some point to the realization that modern business computing has progressed far beyond the point of buying a few computers at Best Buy, plopping them on a desk, and saying “there you go”. In today’s world of HIPAA laws, PCI compliance requirements, Crypto-Locker viruses, and the ever increasing number of hackers out to steal your assets, doing a poor job with your IT infrastructure can put you out of business in no time at all. But once you had that rude awakening, you probably asked yourself “how am I supposed to know what to get and how to set it up to provide a secure and productive computing environment for my business? I’m an accountant/lawyer/manager/ business person/etc... I wasn’t trained or educated for this stuff.” Many of you either hire an IT guy, or engage one of the many Break/Fix IT companies to help you out. This can have mixed results.  Most IT guys are “techs”. They’ll do just fine fixing the virus on your PC or even configuring your server, but they don’t have a clue about helping you setup your long term IT hardware plans, manage the many IT vendors you will need, security and compliance management or the many other duties that larger companies have a CIO (Chief Information Officer) to take care of.

Micro Doctor (and possibly nobody else locally that we know of) has a solution to this problem.  We call it a VCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer), and it is a critical component of our Premium MD-Care service. If your business engages with us at this level, we assign a specific senior staff member to embed themselves into your company at a management level and perform all of the duties of the CIO of much larger corporations, at a small fraction of the cost of employing someone full time in that role.

Your VCIO has very specific duties. First and foremost is to gain an understanding of the state of your business and your priorities as they relate to IT. They do this initially by conducting a discovery meeting with key employees to identify and categorize needs, determine specific 3 year, 1 year, and quarterly goals and drive the development of an IT budget. They maintain this understanding by forming an IT Management team within your company and holding brief, regular(usually monthly) IT Management team meetings where they report on specific issues being taken care of and progress in the previously created plans.

Your VCIO is also responsible for vendor management as it relates to anything technical.  They will be the first point of contact for all of those vendors, and act as the primary liaison for them to accomplish their tasks.

Another major responsibility of the VCIO is Security/Compliance and Continuity Management. This person will research and become familiar with any compliance requirements for your particular business, and create a plan for meeting them. They will also drive the plan for appropriate data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity objectives for your company.

They also fill the role as your technology advisor. Since they perform this role for a number of other companies, they are always aware of the latest technological capabilities and the pro/cons and costs of implementing them.  Since they understand your needs, they will be in a unique position to be able to match them with appropriate technology. This also includes leading the effort to provide Acceptable Use policies for your employees, and appropriate application training if needed.

Last but not least is Project Management.  Any time there is a technology project, your VCIO will maintain oversight of all service work happening, manage risks, and keep your IT Management team updated on progress at the regular meetings. They also will provide feedback to the Micro Doctor service staff regarding satisfaction levels, problem areas that need to be corrected, and specific tasks that need to be accomplished.  Again, this information comes directly from your management team at the regular IT Management team meetings.

The intention of this service is to ensure that our clients maintain appropriate IT infrastructure for their needs, and ultimately to save them money in the long term. A good example of how this has worked in the past can be found by looking at the case of one our local government clients.  Through the VCIO discovery process and subsequent IT Management team meetings, we discovered that over the years, previous vendors had engaged 3 different high speed broadband connections in 3 different buildings of their large, main campus, incurring 3 different substantial monthly broadband invoices.  Once we learned this, we figured out a way to connect the entire main campus on a single LAN (network) and eliminated 2 of those monthly invoices, saving them thousands of dollars per year. We have many more examples of how this direct planning and attention has saved our clients significant dollars and would be happy to discuss them in detail.

As you can see, we have put a lot of thought and planning into providing your company a superior level of service based not only on our knowledge and capabilities, but also on your specific needs and goals. There is no extra charge for this service outside of your Premium MD-Care contract, and we feel providing it demonstrates our level of commitment to helping your business succeed. If you would like to hear more about our Premium service, the many fine organizations we already provide it to, or our VCIOs, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail us to inquire.