NASCIO Survey shows three transformation areas: Digital services, cyber and people

By Chauncey Kehoe, SLED Contracts Manager

If 2020 was a roller coaster ride for state CIOs, the priority shaping their decisions now is to push forward with digital transformation.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers publishes an annual survey of state CIOs and their perspectives. The 2021 State CIO Survey reveals insights from 49 state CIOs on the “short-term and long-term impact of the pandemic.”

The overwhelming consensus amongst state CIOs is that digital services, cyber security and people are going to continue to be top priority over the next year. This marks a shift from 2020, where, understandably, the emphasis was on initiating remote working and more online services for citizen programs.

I attended this year’s NASCIO conference, and what I heard from state CIOs was consistent with the survey findings. Let’s take a look at their current and planned focus areas.

Digital services

Many of the programs put in place in 2020 have expanded and are taking on a more permanent role in government IT.

For example, states introduced chatbots and virtual agents were put in place for citizen online services such as renewing your driver’s license or social services programs that help families find food assistance. Today, states are seeing that most citizens would rather work through a chatbot to receive a quicker response than going in person to an agency or waiting for a representative to call them.

During the NASCIO Annual Conference, State CIO for Ohio Katrina Flory, discussed how they started their digital transformation in 2018 and how the pandemic sped up their deployment across the services. Ohio’s quick transition into digitalization has transformed the way Ohioans access and receive resources they need from their government.

Cyber security

It’s no surprise that cyber hygiene is an ongoing focus for state CIOs. Many state CIOs revealed (both through the survey and at the annual conference) that they have had to accelerate their cyber strategies and investments to ensure they are on top of mitigating risk.

Moving into the next year, state CIOs will focus on staying ahead of ransomware attacks, increasing cyber security awareness training for their workforces and adopting/expanding enterprise identity and access management solutions.


During the breakout sessions at the annual conference, I heard various state CIOs talk about their top priorities. One priority stood out from the others, mentioned by Floridia State CIO, James Grant: People. Grant mentioned that a percentage of the IT workforce is going to be retiring and taking their knowledge with them. Grant will be focusing on ensuing his IT staff has the training and resources they need to maintain business continuity.

NASCIO and many of the state CIOs took the time to thank the IT support teams and the vendors that made 2021 the year of transformation. I believe 2022 will continue to transform citizen engagements through digital platforms and move governments through the ever-changing landscape of cyber security.

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About Chauncey Kehoe
Chauncey Kehoe currently manages the state, local, and education contracts at immixGroup. She joined the company in 2013 and has 10 years of government industry experience. She is responsible for the overall success including, the relationship between immixGroup and the contract offices, overseeing the development, maintenance, and overall performance of the PMO’s risk management, problem resolution, resource management, communications management, customer support, and quality assurance strategies. Chauncey holds a B.A. in political science and philosophy with a focus in legal studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

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