Guest Column | May 31, 2018

Adding Virtual CIO Services To Your Line Card: A Guide For MSPs

By Jeff Dennis, President, Bitboyz

Are CIOs Becoming “Internal Service Providers”?

Virtual CIO services are an emerging trend and a great offering for Managed Services Providers to have on their line cards. By offering vCIO services in addition to other managed services, MSPs can reach out to a number of small and medium-sized businesses that need a knowledgeable, efficient, and reliable tech head at their disposal but are unable to afford traditional CIO services.

If you’re ready to take on this challenge, here’s a guide to help you with the basics of vCIO services.

What Are VCIO Services, and Why Should My MSP Offer the Same?

A CIO, or Chief Information Officer, of any organization is responsible for a number of important duties like planning the IT budget, formulating IT goals, managing IT resources, and facilitating changes in the IT infrastructure. A virtual CIO can be an individual or a company playing the same role, but virtually.

Taking on such huge responsibilities can be a great opportunity for your MSP business. By becoming a virtual CIO, you essentially move into the boardroom as a key decision maker. You get to add immense value to your client's business, and your client gets a trusted advisor in you!

How Can VCIO Services Benefit My Clients?

With rapid advancements in technology and ever-evolving compliances, it can become difficult, if not impossible, for SMBs to ensure the smooth functioning of their IT processes while also focusing on their core business tasks. As a vCIO, you can help your clients in the following ways:

  • Analyze the client’s IT environment to identify opportunities for improvement; suggest solutions that can help the company stay aligned with security standards and industry best practices.
  • Offer all-inclusive support by working round the clock to provide expert advice and valuable decision-making inputs.
  • Lower operating costs for your client by offering the same service as that of an on-staff CIO, but virtually.
  • Help your client form a predictable IT budget through strategic planning.
  • Understand the current and future IT needs of the company and communicate that information to the client, preventing wastage of time and resources.
  • Reduce risk of system failures, decrease downtime, and increase productivity for your client by offering a range of services such as cloud computing and security, data security, disaster recovery, backup plans, etc.

What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid?

The Managed Services Provider market is a fast-growing one, and as the scope and complexities go on increasing, monetizing and scaling your business right is important! Here are some common mistakes you’ll do well to avoid:

  • Attracting the Wrong Clients

Small to medium-sized business with between 50-150 employees should be your ideal target base. Companies with fewer employees won’t need vCIO services, and companies with a greater number of employees will probably be able to afford an in-house CIO.

  • Bundling VCIO with Other Services

As any virtual CIO services in Ohio provider will tell you, a big mistake MSPs make is bundling up their vCIO services with other managed services on offer. Not all your clients will need vCIO services, making you an expensive option. Also note that vCIO services cannot be scaled to fit an organization’s needs like the other services you provide! So don’t expect a client to pay a high price for a complex service that’s unnecessary at the moment.

  • Not Budgeting Properly

You need to budget right to be able to deliver services that will get you desired results. Set your price too low, and you could end up damaging the future of your business! On the other hand, if you price your services too high, potential clients will go looking for cheaper options.

  • Over-Promising

This might happen if you lose sight of what you’re capable of achieving. Say you take on a project that you don’t have the time or resources for. You’re bound to under-deliver, and not meeting expectations will only earn you a bad name. If you do manage to meet expectations despite the challenges, it could be at the cost of exhausting your own resources.

  • Not Defining the Buyer’s Journey

Acquiring clients and retaining them can be difficult if you don’t define the buyer’s journey. Your prospective clients need to know the ‘next step’, so make it visible in the form of a solid call to action, or make it available in the form of downloadable content. Be sure to draw attention to possibilities and opportunities for the client!


While vCIO services have been around for quite a long time, a lot of Managed Services Providers struggle with making their mark in this niche. With this guide, we’re sure you’ll be able to get started on the right foot and grow your MSP with vCIO services!

About The Author

Jeff DennisJeff Dennis is President at Cleveland, OH area MSP Bitboyz, a CompTIA Managed Services Trustmark provider, where he leads a team of technicians and customer support personnel who serve the company’s manufacturing, healthcare, marketing, and professional services clients.