Why do I need a vCIO?

When talking to businesses, one of the objections tend to be; “Why do I need a vCIO?”  Essentially they are asking me to provide them valuable TCO/ROI (total cost of ownership and return on investment) types of answers without really knowing what their particular environment is like or how they have been handling their current CIO/CTO duties up to this point.  One of the ways I can give value to this question is through my “vCIO Needs Assessment.”  This is completely electronic and private.  Essentially a private URL is created for the prospect and forwarded to them.  It can be delivered two ways; 1) send by email and let the prospect fill it out or 2) generate the link and set up an onsite or conference call to go over the questions in person/on the phone.  I prefer the latter because of a few variables.  1) Responder bias – in survey taking, this is when the respondent tends to answer questions they believe are favorable towards the outcome they want versus the reality of their situation/circumstances and 2) the value of being able to dialogue through questions and give clarification will reflect value as a thought leader and business consultant versus a sell job or technobabble.

I am also a firm believer in answering directly people’s questions.  We live in a culture of double-speak and people not getting to the point due to fears.  I cannot tell you how many e-mail exchanges I have had with prospects, clients, and vendors that were wasted time due to not addressing the elephants in the room.  Technical folks can also be a real obstacle to this process in that they would prefer to send an email rather than pick up a phone or go onsite.  The reality is, most C-Level’s appreciate the bottom line, directness and personal touch.  Why?  Think about it, as an owner of your company, you must make impactful decisions at times that affect business units, employees or even policy.  To make these decisions requires good and factual data.  Without it, the decision-making process also fails because it is not based on real data or analytics.

Back to the “real question” from the prospect, “What is my TCO/ROI on a vCIO compared to a CIO/CTO employee?”

  • You can focus on your core business.
  • You will be able to save money because a normal CIO salary runs about $152k per year. A vCIO agreement can run from 25-75% less than that depending on the business needs and assessment results.
  • You can improve your customer service because now there is an entity focused on these results and committed to them as part of the IT Strategy.
  • You can cut down on risks. A vCIO can ensure IT disruptions are minimized as well as other contingencies and continuity will be in place because the vCIO is not limited by being inward facing like an employee.  vCIO’s have a broad, deep, and interactive impact across the organization because they are outside and keep up with the technology as part of their job description.  A vCIO is disciplined to understand innovation frameworks, tech disruption and business transformation in a broader and different way because they are not inward facing.  This also includes NDA and BAA agreements if needed.  A vCIO provides greater objectivity since they are less subject to an organization’s internal politics as well.
  • Because they are not an employee, there is no benefits package, severance pay (when you fire them), tools or overhead associated with traditional executive employees. A vCIO is not biased because of these trappings and can provide true and accurate information that the C-Level requires without fear because it is part of the agreement!  The truth of the matter is that most small and medium-sized businesses cannot afford a traditional CIO’s compensation package and some other poor employee has been wearing that hat on top of there own job description.  This gives that employee their time back.
  • Most MSP (managed service providers) say they provide vCIO services but in reality, they are account management services and represent immature operational maturity. OCIO differentiates itself by providing the following TCO/ROI:
    • We have been CIO’s for other companies.
    • We have testimonials from clients of different verticals as well as vendors who work with us.
    • We have 20+ years in the IT industry from service and help desk to C-Level.
    • We are tapped into a mastermind group and system that is based on industry best practices and standards.
    • We are a learning culture in regards to strategy planning, strategy execution, portfolio management, education, policies, and processes that are unparalleled in the IT workspace currently.

One of the first promises I make to the prospect is that through such things as SaaS Subscription Audit and Management or even the implementation of a formal complete IT Budget, the MRR will be covered as other corporate waste is discovered etc.  On average in the first 2-3 weeks, I have already covered the price of the service agreement through finding some IT-related cost that has not been reviewed or audited in quite some time.  Further, this provides an immediate win and proof that having an outsourced person reviewing these types of expenditures is an awesome asset to any company and it sells itself.

Why do you need a vCIO?  The real business question handed back to the prospect is; Why don’t you have a vCIO?  Think about it, the original question is a buffer question that folks use as they do not want to be ‘sold’ something else they do not need or perhaps they are not aware of their need.  The responding question places the responsibility, now that you have educated them, back in their lap so that they can make an educated decision regarding vCIO services. So why don’t you have a vCIO?