This blog post can be considered “part two” of the “Curious Insights into the Evolution of Technology”, without the odd ball references to the evolution of the human race and saber-toothed tigers.  So, what does a virtual Chief Information Officer actually do and why should you continue reading?  First off, we expect a lot from technology today.  Your business expects technology to simply work and the relationship we have with it is no different than that of a light switch.  Hit the switch and voila, light! 
 
Why?
Your business leverages technology to “get jobs done” and perhaps pushing it further, you harness technology to create an advantage over your competitors. For most business owners and executives, keeping up with the pace of technology change is a challenge, especially as technology can be exploited as attack vectors for disgruntled employees or unknown entities outside your organization. So with this in mind,  when was the last time you evaluated your security posture to mitigate your exposure.  Or even better, how long has business continuity or disaster preparedness been simmering on the back burner?  Further still, do you have an understanding of the value you receive from your technology spend and how can you leverage the cloud? All of these questions (and many more) are brought in to focus through vCIO services. The goal with vCIO is to help you and your organization plan for the things that are important for the survival and evolution of your business. This business focused application of technology is the value proposition associated with vCIO services.
 
What and How?
A vCIO approaches technology by first gaining a deep understanding of your business operations, the business market you’re in, and the unique aspects of how your staff communicate internally and externally. All of this discovery is translated into a technology roadmap that includes re-defining your existing technology application, customization of services, and developing a plan for new technology solutions that meet the specific priorities (security, compliance etc.) and budget for your organization.  The term “trusted advisor” has become somewhat cliché in the Information Technology market BUT captures the essence of what vCIO services are all about.  
 
Opinion
We are of the belief that adopting a single-source IT service provider strategy addresses only a partial component of your technology service needs. Be wary of the traditional IT service provider.  Pure play, SLA (service level agreement) centric relationships from traditional IT service providers typically revolve around a cookie-cutter approach to your business. Or worse yet, they lack process/tools and depend on the skill of a “cubical army” to fight the good fight.  These providers survive on a highly repeatable model and fail to gain a deep understanding of your long term strategy, low level policies/procedures, security controls and industry compliance requirements.  Their existence is defined by offering services locked down to a particular size of the client, location, and application profile, AND is largely based on simplifying IT support and addressing priorities of the IT solution provider.
 
Lastly and attempting to inject some humor to drive home the message, the value of vCIO equates to you working with a  personal trainer or financial advisor.  If you could do it alone, you would either be physically or fiscally fit.  Or both! 
 
Check out more of our thinking and insights at yournucleus.ca
 
Rob Wyse | Director of Growth
Jeff Nantais | vCIO