We are continuing our series that gives back to the industry answering the question, “What does a vCIO do?” and each article will outline a specific service offering of Outsourced CIO LLC in the day and the life of a vCIO. Some call this “virtual” Chief Information Officer or “fractional” CIO and for the sake of this series, we will be changing the “v” to mean “VALUED” CIO. Because the vCIO creates value for growing businesses who might not otherwise be able to afford a Chief Information Officer. Our topic for today is “Managed Complete IT Budget.”
The Managed Complete IT Budget is a perfect topic for Q4 – Quarterly Project or Service, estimated time to complete: 5 hours.
The vCIO facilitates the annual budget creation process, provides a quarterly updated IT budget, also provides a bi-annual service utilization report, while managing the owners of the expenses, rectifying the under-management of SaaS subscriptions, classic licenses, maintenance contracts, telecommunication, ISPs, mobile subscriptions and finally, the annual renewals are planned for the next calendar year.
Digging deeper into the ongoing problem of NOT having a Managed Complete IT budget: The average SME is totally wired with IT services, from telecommunication to software licenses. An abundance of services, software, applications, and devices are available to make companies more competitive. There are myriad ways IT can greatly enhance our company, so we add new services and IT related expenses all the time, and creating regulations around them is not easy. This means expenses are ramping up everywhere. Failure to manage IT-related budget items centrally can cause serious overspending. Choosing inappropriate plans, not following up on price changes in services, and changes to user count can cause unnecessary expenditures. Using multiple tools like productivity applications and collaboration tools in the company can easily result in overlapping functions.
- Benefit: The Managed IT Budget service solves this problem. The goal is to make sure that the CEO retains the ultimate control over IT-related Gather all the cost drivers (services, SaaS subscriptions, licenses, telecommunication, etc.), put it into one spreadsheet, and make decisions. Choose responsible people for each item and enforce a reconciliation practice, then in every quarter make a small governance on the budget. This service ensures review of the usage and utilization of the many applications and of annual plans to make sure renewals are not automatic.
Other skills and services the vCIO will use to complete this service include:
SaaS Subscription Audit and Management
- Problem: An average small and medium company uses dozens of different web-based application and add more and more every year. Every application has a different way to package their products and also have multiple tiers of services with various price tags. Our usage of the applications varies and the subscriptions, pricing constantly changes. If we are not able to track and manage the subscriptions and software licenses we end up paying after users do not use the system, not paying for the right package and have no control over the even growing expense category.
- Benefit: The SaaS Subscription Audit solves this problem. The goal is to collect all the various cloud-based SaaS subscriptions, access, and login information, then validate all subscriptions, users, and packages. This lets us see who is using which types of services on the corporate expense and helps accountants put those expenses in the proper ledger. In the end, we get optimal use of subscriptions, eliminating overlapping functions and minimizing expenses.
- Value Statements: SaaS subscriptions are regularly reviewed to control expenses and look for new opportunities.
Virtual IT Department Evaluation
- The “Virtual IT Department” of the company can consist of 50 or more application providers, service providers, vendors, and third-party companies. It’s important to categorize different participants and evaluate their performance regularly. With this evaluation, we can decide whom we can dismiss, change, or negotiate for a better price or develop a more strategic relationship.
- Problem: As IT matures, more applications, vendors, third parties, contractors and internal resources are working on some part of any given company’s information systems. Managing the resources – human and otherwise – of a Virtual IT Department is a crucial responsibility, and yet usually gets left unassigned to anybody in the client company.
- Benefit: Managing all the individuals interacting with a company’s IT brings better alignment, better performance, and lower operating costs. The goal is to create a system that reliably manages those parties in the virtual IT department and accompanying resources.
- Value Propositions: All IT infrastructure vendors are under control and managed by a master service provider.
That’s is it! That is what a vCIO does. Check out the online video on this topic as well. Have a tech-stress free day from Outsourced CIO LLC, where we demystify technology for growing businesses.
*Extra resources reinforcing the topic area below. Disclaimer, resources/links are not necessarily endorsing the products, goods, and services of the author and should not be construed as an Official OCIO endorsement of said resource/vendor.