Improving Citizen Experience Is Driving State & Local CIOs

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

CIOs are looking to engage citizens in the way they would like to be engaged – be that through the traditional in-person experience, on the phone, online, through social media or even using AI and chatbots. This was one of the major themes this year that came out of the recent Beyond the Beltway conference (besides the ever-present cybersecurity of course). Both state and local CIOs listed improving the citizen experience as one of their top priorities.

Speakers agreed that no matter the engagement method, the process should be seamless to the citizen, almost like a “one-stop” shop for everything a citizen might need from the government.

Outdated Infrastructure

Creating a single view for the citizen, is not as easy as developing a portal with a single-sign-on. Before that portal can go live, there are lot of activities that are required on the back end. Besides the collective information sharing that is needed between agencies, perhaps the biggest barrier are the outdated infrastructures many state and local governments are managing.

Many state and local governments are struggling to modernize their infrastructures, and as the CIO from Westchester County, New York put it, her number one priority is to “get their infrastructure out of the 1990s.” North Dakota’s CIO has a similar goal in that “anything older than me has to go.”

The reality is that many state and local governments are operating on outdated infrastructures and mounting technical debt, in other words, it’s costing more and more to maintain their outdated systems. Outdated servers and mainframes aren’t capable of supporting the agile on-demand engagement model many citizens are craving.

As-a-Service Strategies

One strategy state and local CIOs are employing is moving to the cloud and other “as-a-service” models. However, many continue to face an uphill battle from culturally resistant agencies who fear potential job losses or losing control of their data. As state and local CIOs work to convince their department and agencies of the value of modernized as-a-service infrastructures, vendors can work with CIOs to promote the benefits of increased flexibility and security that cloud delivers in support of more agile engagement models.

Measuring Success

Successful citizen experience projects can’t be measured on the technical aspects of how the infrastructure is built or how the data from multiple agencies are aggregated. Instead, their success will be measured by the ease of engagement and a citizen’s ability to have their inquiries quickly addressed by government. What’s driving state and local CIOs, and in turn should be driving vendor conversations, is what problems does the citizen have, and how can I help solve? The focus should be on the citizen and their problems, not the technical requirement.

 

Want to learn more about how you can engage with state and local governments? Contact our Market Intelligence team today.

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