NASCIO survey of CIOs

State CIOs stress agile, data management and infrastructure outsourcing

ORLANDO, FLA. -- A new survey of state CIOs has found that data management remains a high priority, while states are warming up to infrastructure outsourcing and agile development.

This is the seventh year that the National Association of State CIOs has released a state CIO survey at its annual conference. The resulting report, The Adaptable State CIO, was published jointly by NASCIO, Grant Thornton LLP and CompTIA.

The survey found that IT infrastructure outsourcing has increased, with 69 percent of respondents outsourcing at least some IT infrastructure operations, up from 58 percent in 2015. It also found that the managed services business model has increased in popularity while use of shared services has decreased.

“It’s moving from an owner operated model to a new way of doing business,” NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson said in a panel discussion on the survey.

Arizona’s CIO Morgan Reed said this was consistent with what he’s seen in his state.

“We can’t do everything well,” Reed said. So states focus their manpower on what they can do well and divest what they can’t, outsourcing the responsibility. This means focusing on building public-private partnerships, he said.

When asked about agile and incremental software development, most respondents -- 56 percent -- said it was too early to tell if agile development projects have been a success. But nearly a third  said that agile projects had been more successful than those using waterfall methodologies.

This is a change since the last survey, according to Grant Thornton’s  Graeme Finley. In 2015, a greater number -- 62 percent -- of respondents said it was too early to tell. This year there have been more formalized pilots involving agile and a more mature push for it, he said. DevOps will prove to be an important part of agile as it is implemented more, he added.

“Organizations that are matur[ing] into agile practices recognize that DevOps is a pretty critical element to success,” he said. “The ability to actually deploy software with a little bit of automation and speed and quality is required if you’re really going to get the value from an agile enterprise.”

For large projects, states are following the lead of industry and stepping away from “safe” waterfall development methodologies.

“Waterfall really isn’t cutting the mustard,” Maryland Secretary of IT David Garcia said. “You can’t just keep moving forward with this big planning and big execution and get to the end of year three or four, turn the key and hope to God it works,” Garcia told GCN.

“The state CIO must be increasingly agile as he or she navigates the shifting IT and business landscapes, as well as citizen expectations,” Finley said in a statement that accompanied the survey results. “The perspectives of these CIOs will be especially valuable to state governors, legislatures and business leaders as they work to strengthen and protect essential state IT services.”

The survey also found that a majority of respondents think that data management has either medium — 31 percent — or high — 42 percent — priority; Finley said this was consistent with the findings from the previous survey. But it also found that most states don’t have a chief data officer; 68 percent said they don’t have one, although 20 percent said such a hire was under consideration.

And while 71 percent of states "have established standards for data classification and security, only 18 [percent] have data management and metadata standards in place," the report states.  Just one in four "have a strategy to deal with large volumes of data."

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a former reporter for GCN.


  • Records management: Look beyond the NARA mandates

    Pandemic tests electronic records management

    Between the rush enable more virtual collaboration, stalled digitization of archived records and managing records that reside in datasets, records management executives are sorting through new challenges.

  • boy learning at home (Travelpixs/

    Tucson’s community wireless bridges the digital divide

    The city built cell sites at government-owned facilities such as fire departments and libraries that were already connected to Tucson’s existing fiber backbone.

Stay Connected