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  • Pankaj Mittal

Virtual CIO services: a boon to the trailing IT strategy

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

Organizations have to adopt to the new normal and start with their digital transformation program. The intent for the transformation, agreeing on expected outcome and mapping KRAs could be the first steps and would form part of a comprehensive Digital Strategy.


Virtual CIO by Digizen Consulting
Virtual CIO by Digizen Consulting

This digital strategy will have to feed the evolving IT strategy that will create the base of digital transformation. This is not an easy task, as the game involves juggling between RUN, BUILD and TRANSFORM states without impacting normal business. Organizations, where management is sold to the idea of digital transformation tend to get in a hurry. Looking at the existing estate with overburdened IT and so-called misalignment with business users, they hire a new CDO or even a Digital CIO to lead the new initiative.


Since this initiative is sold through the top, there is high demand and high visibility, which leads to higher pressure to perform. Many a times, stock taking would reveal that the base systems would need a retrofit, it could be in form of cloud adoption or ERP reimplementation. These high energy draining projects would engulf all the time of the new incumbent and all that he sees and talks for next couple of quarters is basic IT implementation.


This does not qualify to excite board, nor does it make business happy. Results are mostly predicable. Management again starts scouting for fresh hire and the cycle goes on.

This chain can be broken by virtual CIO services. The tenured and seasoned CIO who can come on board would drive the program with single ended focus on outcome, with unbiased, fearless and neutral stance.


Here are a few pointers, which justify the need for a vCIO to drive IT strategy in the new normal.

  1. vCIO does not carry the burden of legacy protection, nor has he an affinity and parental love for the past systems that are built under his leadership. He can focus on what is right and what would work.

  2. vCIO has access to the external world by working on multiple projects. He can bring fresh perspectives and share his focused experience of transformation, which is devoid of the past laurels of running an IT shop.

  3. On roll employees get into the political game of the enterprise, they also have a hidden mandate to comply with their reporting relationships and meeting the KRA points which influence their performance appraisal. vCIO is immune to this trait.

  4. vCIO can work with cross functional teams and take tough calls. He just needs management support, which will be made available if the focus is exhibited on outcome

  5. Process transformation would need a neutral approach. An outside-inside view from vCIO will help in cutting flabs around home grown processes.

  6. vCIO will be able to nurture fresh partnerships with vendors and break the monopoly of existing tie. Existing relationships could be working well, but would always have the tinge of legacy associated with it.

  7. vCIO will have an outcome focused approach with IT team as well. This will help in evolving a new operating model.

vCIO services would be suitable for enterprises who do not have in house CIO. However, these services can work well and support the existing CIO, by providing a trusted helping hand in driving enterprise programs.





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