NASCIO survey highlights IT consolidation, cybersecurity progress

NASCIO's latest annual survey outlines some of the challenges state IT officials face.

As more states centralize their IT operations, CIOs still face obstacles related to funding and the ability to offer specialized services.  But a shared services model where CIOs act as brokers to recover costs of services from agencies is quickly becoming a new normal.

This is one of the findings from the eighth annual survey of state CIOs released at the National Association of State CIOs conference in Austin, Texas.  NASCIO, Grant Thornton and CompTIA worked together to produce the report, A New Engine: Driving Innovation in State Technology, with responses from 42 states and territories.

"The results of our 2017 survey highlights the critical leadership role of the state CIO," NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson said. "The need to sustain transformation and innovation will require CIOs to rethink the role and structure of their organization to serve the needs of state government."

With security and risk management as the top priority for state CIOs, the survey asked IT officials about their cybersecurity programs.  In 2017, 95 percent said they had adopted a cybersecurity framework based on national standards and guidelines, compared to 78 percent in 2013.

Over 80 percent of CIOs play a leading role in setting up the oversight and direction of their statewide cybersecurity programs, but a number of respondents expressed a desire to have a greater role in leading these efforts.

The report also found digital government to be an enterprise priority. With the growing pressures on state agencies to shift their business practices online, 60 percent of respondents said they already have or plan to have a digital services organization under their purview, but 55 percent lack a formal strategy for these types of innovations.

When it comes to digital services delivery, the report determined agency readiness to commit to digital services is the chief obstacle for  52 percent of respondents, with funding a major factor for 48 percent.  Since agencies are supporting “multiple channels of service delivery,” it can be difficult to determine best ways to deal with the “competing priorities regarding investments.”

States' use of agile and DevOps is also growing as more experiment with pilots and trials.  Thirty-seven percent of states are using agile methodology throughout their operations, but it is not subject to centralized oversight. 

State governments' use of DevOps is in the more nascent stages, with 42 percent using DevOps strategies on a limited, uncoordinated basis and 37 percent conducting pilots or trials on certain projects.

Looking forward, 43 percent of state CIOs see internet-of-things devices as having the largest impact on their operations in the next three to five years.  Artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities are also top of mind for IT officials at 29 percent.

The full report can be found here.

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