8 Things Keeping CIOs Up at Night

CIOs' nightmares becomes MSPs' opportunities.

Kris Blackmon, Head of Channel Communities

October 22, 2018

8 Slides

**Editor’s Note: Throughout the fourth quarter of 2018, as part of our Channel Futures/Channel Partners “In Focus” series, we will feature a series of galleries designed to help partners grow their businesses in 2019 and beyond.**

It’s a rough time to be a CIO.

It feels like yesterday when chief information officers just needed to make sure their companies’ networks were up and running, users’ PCs were set up properly, and no one was having an Office Space moment on the company printer. Today, CIOs touch way more than just IT infrastructure. As every industry and line of business increasingly runs on technology solutions, overworked – and overwhelmed – CIOs suddenly find themselves with their fingers in all the corporate pies, from marketing to supply chain to accounts payable and more.

“Given the rapid pace of change with all of the existing IT challenges and new developments – such as IoT, blockchain, business intelligence, analytics, cybersecurity and so on – we’ve noticed that many organizations seem overwhelmed trying to keep up,” says Steve Melchiorre, CEO of Stratosphere Networks. “It’s difficult to stay up to date on the constantly evolving tech landscape, particularly for organizations with limited IT resources and budgets.”


Steve Malchiorre

Steve Malchiorre

While our hearts go out to our beleaguered tech friends in the C-suite, their misery is big opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs). More and more CIOs are turning in desperation to the channel to help them keep all their balls in the air and meet the expectations of numerous, demanding stakeholders, both internal and external.

Michael Chen, CEO and president of MSP CSP Networks, says more and more customers are becoming familiar with the term “MSP.” The challenge in 2019 will be convincing them to not shop on price and instead consider the long-term value their channel partner can provide. 

Organizations are no longer under any delusions that the IT function is just the technical framework everyone else in the company works upon. Today, technology drives almost every source of value. Some say we’re in the midst of the digital transformation, and some say it’s already happened, and our heads just haven’t stopped spinning yet. Either way you slice it, businesses are struggling to adapt processes and organizational structure in a way that can handle the increased demand on IT, says Susie Cummings, senior vice president of managed services for SWC Technology Partners.


Susie Cummings

Susie Cummings

“On the flip side, they also realize that technology is becoming more specialized and they can no longer afford to handle all of it internally anymore,” says Cummings. “Outsourcing all or portions of their IT allows them to get specialized expertise when they need it.”

The bottom line is that everyone in the C-suite is trying to grow the company, grow market share, and make smart digital business transformations that will move the company forward. Jeff Dotzler, vice president of GFConsulting Group, says the challenge is to find ways to help CIOs champion change without alienating their people or upsetting the company culture.


Jeff Dotzler

Jeff Dotzler

“The ultimate concern for most CIOs is well beyond traditional IT and more focused on transformative and innovative solutions that will win market share and grow their businesses,” says Dotzler. “It is our job to help them develop a strategic road map that makes transformation and growth possible. 

So where are the biggest opportunities for MSPs in 2019? They’re in the most common nightmares of today’s CIOs. Click through our slide show to see what managed service providers say are keeping their CIO customers up at night — and where they’re taking the opportunity to prove their value, grow their relationships, and rake in the revenue.

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About the Author(s)

Kris Blackmon

Head of Channel Communities, Zift Solutions

Kris Blackmon is head of channel communities at Zift Solutions. She previously worked as chief channel officer at JS Group, and as senior content director at Informa Tech and project director of the MSP 501er Community. Blackmon is chair of CompTIA's Channel Development Advisory Council and operates KB Consulting. You may follow her on LinkedIn and @zift on X.

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