A vCIO, or virtual CIO, is usually a contractor that serves as an organization’s chief information officer. They typically collaborate with and advise their clients’ IT departments (or the clients themselves in organizations that do not have an IT department), and performs the same functions as a conventional CIO.

Often times, the client may not have an internal IT department – or perhaps has a very limited IT staff – so they may give wider decision-making authority and technology deployment responsibilities to the vCIO. The main difference between the vCIO function and other technical advisory services, is that the vCIO takes a complete view of the client, which includes focusing on business goal, budget and IT alignment.

What does a vCIO do? Here are some duties usually expected from a vCIO:

Analyze the client’s IT environment
The first task undertaken by a vCIO is to conduct an overall assessment of an organization’s work environment, including all hardware, software, infrastructure and business processes. This process will provide both the client and the vCIO with a clear picture of opportunities to improve a company’s IT system and stay aligned with best practice and security standards.

Strategic Technology Plan
The vCIO will understanding which technologies will best benefit a business, allowing them to accomplish their goals and create an IT system that aligns with a company’s unique needs and vision. This usually requires a strategic look at all of the organization’s technology, therefore the vCIO must have a deep technical knowledge of how all the moving parts work (or don’t work) together. A vCIO can build a technology roadmap for the client, identifying opportunities to utilize their existing technology as well as areas where new technology tools would be most beneficial both now and in the future.

Anticipating NextGen Technologies
Understanding industry trends and what technologies are around the corner is an essential vCIO duty. By being able to analyze the impact these changes could have, a vCIO can help a company invest in the right technology at the right time. This benefits the client because the client will have a competitive edge over their competitors.

When considering implementing a managed network service that includes a vCIO, look for a vCIO with the abilities to:

• Offer professional guidance on new IT initiatives.

• Analyze and effectively allocate an IT budget.

• Manage the transition to new technologies.

• Provide regular reports on the health and security status of an IT system.

• Create and implement a business continuity plan that includes necessary actions required in the case of a catastrophic disruption of IT services.

For information on how a Capital Business Systems vCIO can help you manage and secure your network, please contact us.