The CIO or VCIO Role for Your Business (Podcast)


On this episode of Tech Tuesday, John Maher talks with Dave Hodgdon about the role of the CIO or VCIO or businesses. He explains how Chief Information Officer or Virtual Chief Information Officer meetings help businesses get control of their IT by creating a tech road map and budget.

Portsmouth Computer Group · The CIO or VCIO Role for Your Business

John Maher: Welcome to Tech Tuesday brought to you by PCG, a managed services and security provider in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I’m John Maher. With me today from PCG is Dave Hodgdon. Welcome Dave.

Dave Hodgdon: Good afternoon, John.

What is a VCIO or CIO?

John: So today, Dave, we’re talking about the CIO or VCIO role for your business. Can you tell me what that is? What is a CIO or VCIO?

Dave: CIO in simple terms is your Chief Information Officer. A lot of times a larger organization will have someone in this position hired at $300,000 a year. But it’s very difficult for small businesses to have someone like that on staff. So, the big buzzword in the last five years has been having a VCIO, kind of a Virtual Chief Information Officer, that’s working for you on a part-time basis. Our role with this person is to make sure your company is spending the correct amount of money on technology. That the correct amount of money is being planned and executed so that the technology can support the business goals of the company.

We want to make sure that the IT spend supports the business goals. A lot of people don’t really think about what their my goals, what do they need for that spend. We don’t want any of our clients to be spending a dime without knowing what it means, how it will help their business ultimately, to make  money and reduce their risk. Why spend something if we can’t make money or be more productive or reduce our risk by that expenditure?

Why Do Businesses Need a CIO?

John: Why does a company need a CIO for their business? I imagine that some smaller businesses might think that it’s maybe unnecessary. Are they just going to be buying laptops for my employee’s, like, “I can do that.  What is it that the CIO really does?

Dave: It’s a much bigger picture, John. Most small businesses, they’re very reactive. They don’t really have the time to truly think about technology. It really comes back to the technology plan. They’re always just looking at costs, not the value to drive their business.

The CIO is really looking at, where can we use technology, really help that business move those levers? It’s difficult to run a business without having a technology plan. So, once we understand the business goals… now, business goals are more than just IT. You’re dealing with people, you’re dealing with hires, you’re dealing with facilities, you’re dealing with products, you’re dealing with vendors. But as we understand that we have the ability now to tie that technology plan to them.

Now IT is complex. There’s a lot to it. Businesses need to take their cash and use it where they can benefit the most in IT. I always try to tell my clients just like you get legal counsel, or you get your CPA tax planning advice, PCG now is kind of your general counsel for all IT things. We’re kind of the architects of your business for IT. We want that network, in place structurally, in meeting the needs and growth of your business. You’ve got to look at the infrastructure and grow accordingly.

IT is every day, John, it’s 24 by 7. It impacts your business and operations. If you can’t interact with your clients, you can’t sell products. You’re not making money. It’s important to have your accountant and a lawyer, but you’re not dealing with those issues like IT every day. We try to really embrace that with our clients. The CIO role, it’s actively engaged all the time.

What Are the Benefits of Having a CIO?

John: And can you give me some of the specific or key reasons to have a CIO for your business?

Dave: I think it all starts with a technology plan. Once we understand the business, the goals, the issues, we can help them plan. Where do we want to be in the next 1, 3, 5 years? What are the current issues we want to resolve? What’s the budget to do that? The last two or three years, it’s really been about security too. We’ve been there, that’s a big part for everyone.

We’re all aware of what’s in the news with ransomware and the cyber-attacks, and we’re getting daily calls to review our client’s cyber insurance. Where can we help you to improve your security posture, which reduces your risk? Review your cyber insurance. Tighten your security posture. Where can newer technologies help with those security services?

If it’s not in your budget right now to put something new in place, but we’ll let you use a firewall as a service, let’s get something in there for a hundred dollars a month and get you to where you should be to minimize that cyber breach. Review the compliance requirements, depending on your industry whether you are medical, manufacturing, legal, municipal, etc. People really aren’t thinking about those things. You’ve got to flush those out so you’re spending where it is needed. As a company is growing, there’s always projects. Having that CIO work with the project management team can be invaluable.

Are there issues in areas of a workflow or collaboration, the way people are using Teams and Zoom and remote workforce? There’s so many things to talk about to help a business be more productive. The bottom line is the business goals… meeting the business goals and the IT issues and how we can have IT help leverage and support the business goals, and the IT spend. Again, we always want our clients to understand every dollar they’re spending. They should know what it’s for, how it’s going to help the business, and ultimately, how it’s going to make them money.

Why Do Businesses Need a VCIO With Their Managed Services Plan?

John: So PCG is a managed services and security provider. Tell me a little bit about why a business would want to have a CIO or a virtual CIO as part of their service plan with PCG?

Dave: That’s a great question, John. A lot of people just don’t really understand the true value of the VCIO. I think it’s probably the number one value PCG provides. We don’t want to be known for fixing computers, doing updates, checking if  the servers are on. Yes, that’s an important part. We do that all day long, but that’s the easy stuff.

The big thing is the value to the business. We want to help maximize their IT investment. We want to help them maximize the productivity of their staff. We want to make sure there’s training in place to review their workflows, security training, training on the line of business applications.

I found one of the most important things we do are our employee interviews. Instead of just getting the feedback from the leadership team, we like to find out what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s missing or confusing for the employees. And it’s amazing, John, the results you get, and the feedback you can bring back to the leadership team. We want to help them be more successful by leveraging IT. We want to create value.

So many times, the client is just focused on the cost, not the value. At PCG, we have a security and a technical team that’s always looking at the technology out there and how that technology can impact their business. It’s about cash flow, keeping their cash in the bank. We always talk to them about CAPEX versus OPEX. How can it help with your technology spend? The goal, John, from the financial end is the accounting, knowing what that predictable spend is.

The VCIO Adds Value to Businesses

John: All right. Any final thoughts on the CIO role for your business and why it’s important?

Dave: Well, I always emphasize the CIO role adds value. Businesses need to embrace that and take advantage of it. There are so many things it takes to run your business and it can be chaotic. They don’t have the time to pay attention to all those details. As I mentioned before, IT is very, very complex. At PCG, we have what’s known as a technology focused team, always looking at what’s out there, John.

We have a security team that is always evaluating what services need to be in place to minimize risk. We meet weekly. We’re always looking to have that landscape in place. It’s expensive to hire a CIO. And a lot of times you could be spending $150,000 to $300,000 a year inhouse, or outsourcing at $30K to $50K.

Our clients are getting this for under a thousand dollars a month, when they’re on our premium agreements. We feel communication is important. It ultimately comes back to the technology plan. Our blueprints and our VCIO process are tested and proven, and our clients get great value, and we’re helping them with their vision and meet the goals of the business.

Contact PCG to Talk About VCIO Services Today

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Dave. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dave: My pleasure.

John: And for more information, you can visit the PCG website at or call 603-431-4121.