Many small to mid-size organizations use a virtual CIO (vCIO) to assist them in making strategic technology decisions.  A vCIO is a part-time trusted advisor that is contracted to keep the organization’s best interest at the forefront.  The vCIO works with the Leadership of the organization to plan the technology roadmap and to identify opportunities to use new technology which will give the organization a strategic industry advantage.  The vCIO will take a broader view and help align technology with the short- and long-term goals of the organization.

An MSP or Technology Partner will often include a vCIO in their proposal/agreement to support an organization.  They often include this as a part-time addition which on the surface appears to be an added benefit.  Taking a step back, it becomes obvious that, in many cases, this is not in the best interest of the Client.

When an organization utilizes a vCIO from its MSP or Technology Partner there is a clear conflict of interest.  The vCIO should be the organization’s trusted advisor.  The vCIO will be recommending technology solutions that, in almost all cases, can be sold, implemented and supported by the organization that the vCIO works for.  At some MSP organizations, the vCIO receives bonuses when additional products and services are sold into their clients.  The vCIO should be looking at all viabletechnology solutions… not just the technology solutions that their employer can offer.  The vCIO provided from an MSP will rarely, if ever, recommend a competing technology provider to assist the organization in implementing a technology solution that benefits the client.  We find the this can be, in part, due to the MSP not being certified in a specific technology that would benefit the client organization.  In such cases, the organization may never have the opportunity to consider that specific technology.

The benefits of partnering with an independent resource are many.  An independent vCIO always focuses on the organization’s best interest.  They receive no incentive to make a recommendation and remain completely unbiased.  This arrangement is truly a trusted advisor relationship.  The vCIO will hold the MSP accountable for their work and be sure that the organization is receiving the best possible support.  The vCIO will create a competitive environment for additional technology solutions and select the best provider for the organization.  This model will assure the organization they are receiving the highest level of ROI. 

As they say in investigations, “follow the money”.  To receive the most return for your investment in technology, insure your vCIO, or any other advisor, receives no financial gain from the advice they provide.  Never feel reluctant to ask!