Remote Work Is Here to Stay in SLED

By Charles Castelly, Analyst

This year’s NASCIO’s mid-year was full of insightful information on how states are adjusting to the new environment and how they plan to move forward during the upcoming fiscal year. One of the topics discussed was the transition to remote work and how each of their states are managing the change.

As part of this transition, CIO’s explained how they handled the immediate demand for more laptops and VPN capacity. Beyond the nuts and bolts of working remote, many CIOs also addressed their future workforce plans once restrictions are lifted. Here are some examples of what Maryland, Georgia and Missouri are doing, which may lead to other states following suit:

Maryland — Creating a Virtual Agency

Michael Leahy, Maryland’s Secretary of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, stated that remote work is likely going to be a major component of his staffing strategy going forward. Leahy said that he has given serious thought about having his staff work remotely full time, creating a “virtual agency.” A virtual agency would enable his department to save on real estate and help ease the pressure from expected budget cuts in the upcoming fiscal year.

From a vendor perspective, this virtual agencies will drive a need for states to adjust their policies and approaches to managing and mitigating cyber risk. The tools currently employed in many states today are effective in analyzing in network traffic, but how do you protect your data from an external cyberattack?

Georgia — Widening the Talent Pool

Calvin Rhodes, Georgia’s Chief Information Officer, believes that remote work will help his agency in future recruitment efforts by widening the potential talent pool beyond applicants that live within commuting distance to the Atlanta metropolitan area. Georgia’s struggle with recruiting is playing out in states across the nation.

Vendors providing the collaboration tools that enable agencies to transition to a remote workforce with no loss in productivity will find opportunities increase in this new remote-working environment.

Missouri — Chatbots and Call Center Digitization

Jeffrey Wann, Missouri’s Chief Information Officer, also agreed that work from home in Missouri is here to stay. This situation helped jumpstart modernization efforts with chatbots and a digitization of the call center to help manage the influx of citizen service questions and requests. Missouri is a great example of what modernization and cloud-based infrastructures can do for state services. Despite a remote-based workforce, the state has been able to handle the influx of requests with no loss in service or response for citizens.

Vendors that provide digital transformation solutions that help agencies and governments become more efficient and can handle more citizen demand would be a good fit.

Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, stated that this unprecendented situation has helped remove any remaining hesitation that work traditionally done in the office can be done from home. With tools that allow for face to face interaction, collaboration can continue.

Atkinson also believes that this new-found comfort with remote work will help drive a revitalization of rural areas through increased access to higher-paying jobs in the technology field. The down-stream result will be a change to current office environments by shifting to hotel/coworking space models.

As states shift to accommodate more permanent remote-working environments, how they deploy and protect their networks and applications will change. This will provide vendors an opportunity to be a part of this journey and help states make a smooth transition.

 

Check out immixGroup’s new Remote Working Solutions webpage that provides resources to help government agencies quickly acquire the technology solutions they need to address their most urgent requirements.

Contact us today if you would like more information about how Market Intelligence can help you understand the transition to a remote work environment and find opportunities.

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