Oakland IT Consulting and vCIO
Why IT Consultants must develop a comprehensive plan relying on a vCIO
The role of the Chief Informational Officer (CIO) at any company has changed, especially at a small business. Most small businesses are overwhelmed with requirements for implementing new technology, protecting critical data systems, identifying and closing security risks, working with management to keep up with company initiatives and educating staff on the proper use of the IT solutions currently implemented. As a result, most small businesses tend to outsource the job of the CIO to a Managed IT services provider. Most outsource companies now identify this function and the title this job as Virtual Chief Informational Officer (vCIO)
To be successful, the vCIO must understand the importance of developing a partnership approach customized for each small business they support. The partnerships which need to be established include critical application vendors, internet service providers, email hosting IT companies, senior management, HR departments, phone vendors, firewall manufacturers, onsite IT support staff, remote support staff, video conference supplier, disaster planner and accounting departments to name a few. These partnerships need to be established so that all parties understand their role in supporting the organization. Support agreements numbers, contact phone numbers and established service Level Agreements need to be documented with all IT support vendors so when a problem occurs it can be escalated and resolved quickly.
It is the responsibility of the vCIO to create a trusted partnership with both the vendors and the employees within the organization. Developing an alliance with IT companies is more than having a quick introductory phone call. It invoices consistent email communication, site visits and conference calls to develop a relationship that can withstand during good times and bad. Both parties must truly understand the total environment and not just the piece that pertains to their offering. The vendor must understand what the customers is offering and what sets them apart from their competition. The vendor must feel comfortable presenting new solutions that will keep the business moving forward with the use of technology. The partners must also feel comfortable taking a step back if any IT solutions are incorrect. The vCIO must be the keeper of the process and make sure no one gets involved in the blame game. All parties needed to support the IT environment must work as a team. It is the job of the VCIO to make this happen.
The vCIO should combine site visits with remote support to make the business feel like they can receive Oakland IT services around the clock. The vCIO works for the business and must be accessible to truly manage and support the business especially in network security. No matter how many layers of IT security every companies’ IT infrastructure can be compromised. If and when this occurs the vCIO must rely on the processes developed to get the immediate response necessary to mitigate the damage. The only way for this to occur is if the vCIO has a written plan, the support structure, and open communication with all the suppliers.