MSPs are a well-known entity in the business community. Many SMBs look to IT firms to deliver a complete package of computer services and support, nearly filling an IT department’s role without the payroll costs. Businesses need tech professionals capable of designing, implementing, managing, and supporting these essential systems. That expertise typically comes from their in-house personnel, third parties such as MSPs, or some combination of those resources.
Collaboration is becoming a big part of that equation. IT teams can easily overextend themselves between the shift to remote work and the need for more advanced technologies, including specialized or industry-specific solutions. Many hands make light work; MSPs should keep that proverb in mind when looking at new business opportunities and assessing bandwidth capabilities.
That is one of the many roles of a Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO), with some industry experts suggest the “C” might also refer to collaboration. From formulating strategic IT goals for businesses and managing those operations to helping develop the budget required to meet those objectives, MSPs may take on any or all of these responsibilities. This is not a job for those lacking a work ethic and social skills.
Gain market and wallet share
MSPs with a solid understanding of business and technology are invaluable to the SMB. With that type of knowledge and expertise, IT services providers can create a definite “win-win” situation for companies with no or very few IT resources, giving those clients access to an experienced technical team as well as strategic IT leadership.
A vCIO role allows MSPs to forge closer relationships with their customers and build the infrastructure and systems those companies need to compete in today’s business environment. With the increasing importance and complexity of technology, every organization needs someone with the ability to develop a long-term (1-5 year) technology plan and ensure that vision comes to fruition. From crafting the strategy and procuring the solutions and services to managing implementations and projects, each of these processes is critical to the business’ success and something most MSPs can deliver on behalf of their clients.
Offering vCIO services can also help IT services firms expand market share. In addition to supporting existing clients, MSPs can target larger prospects with a more comprehensive set of solutions. IT leadership is an invaluable resource for any business, especially organizations that do not keep pace with the latest innovations and workforce transformations, including cloud solutions and the shift to remote work. A vCIO can address those shortfalls, and those services should help MSPs gain more traction in their target markets.
Those responsibilities can also increase wallet share. MSPs in a vCIO role usually need to address an ever-expanding list of technical requirements for their clients, and many of those services will generate additional income. The IT services firm in charge may collect and keep all that incremental revenue or share those proceeds with various collaboration partners that support those customers.
A comprehensive network of specialists and peers is critical to a vCIO. An MSP’s ability to bring in various experts to address specific areas of need for their clients is essential to success in this IT role and ensures each business gets the best quality support.
Partnerships create leverage
Virtual CIOs reside at the intersection of technology and business operations and often rely on multiple groups’ skills and support to carry out their missions. Resource utilization and management are critical for vCIOs. Collaborative MSPs can eliminate the need for internal IT by leveraging multiple relationships to keep costs in control while collaboratively delivering the solutions, support, and security their clients genuinely deserve.
MSPs that step into a vCIO role will enjoy tremendous success when they work with highly skilled and properly motivated partners. Those alliances are essential for ensuring they have every business and technology aspect covered. A vCIO coordinates IT support and project schedules and addresses any gaps in bandwidth and expertise.
The end goal for MSPs in this role (and those not in this position) is to properly construct and maintain highly beneficial technologies for each client while safeguarding all their systems, data, and employees. Working with other providers helps vCIOs extend their capabilities, from expanding their geographic and vertical reach and multiplying their skill sets to tapping into the imagination of other IT visionaries.
Like a rising tide raises all boats, collaboration can positively multiply affect everyone, including the MSP in a vCIO role and each provider taking part in various projects, and any business that employs their services. Partnerships create the leverage every organization needs in today’s challenging economic environment.