Collaboration and Innovation Top of Mind at NASCIO Conference

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

The overwhelming theme at this year’s NASCIO conference centered on the idea of innovation. Throughout the event, state CIOs shared their innovative approaches to managing IT and the business of government.

One of the innovative approaches was increasing collaboration with local governments. Collaboration between state and local government isn’t necessarily new, but today it means much more and goes way beyond funding and MOUs.

Shared Goals

One innovative approach state and local governments are taking to collaboration involves a shared goal. For example, in the wake of the many recent high-profile ransomware attacks, state CIOs shared that they’d received an increase in support requests from their local governments. Read more of this post

IT Modernization Means Collaboration for New Jersey CTO

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear from New Jersey’s Chief Technology Officer, Chris Rein, while listening in on a Corporate Leadership Council meeting hosted by NASCIO. Rein took over the job of CTO 16 months ago following the election of a new governor.

One of Rein’s biggest challenges will be updating and modernizing many of the outdated legacy systems. They “have some very old and spotty technology infrastructure,” with the oldest systems being nearly 50 years old, Rein explained during the call. Saying you need to replace these legacy systems is one thing but actually being able to fund a replacement system is whole different animal. Rein has been working with the state’s treasurer to develop a strategy to modernize these systems and speed up the RFP process as well. Read more of this post

Fed and SLED IT Managers Are Buying Into AI

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

According to a recent study, 90% of public sector IT managers have observed a noticeable shift in the adoption of AI at their organizations over the last two years. The research report, “AI Is Out There: Early Adoption in Fed & SLED Agencies, ” explores government agencies’ interest in AI and seeks to understand current usage of AI technology in the public sector.

The study highlights IT managers’ and public sector leaders’ interest in gaining an edge by becoming early adopters of AI technology. Of surveyed respondents, 77% view AI as an asset to their organization’s ability to deliver on its mission, while 85% agree AI will be a game changer in how their agency thinks about and processes data. Some agencies have started to initiate AI pilot programs with 14% already reporting benefits from the technology. Currently, 61% of respondents report the use of at least one foundational AI technology such as voice assistants, high performance computing, and virtual customer assistance or chatbots. Read more of this post

Arkansas CIO All In on Shared Services

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

Arkansas has begun its digital transformation and is moving ever closer to a shared services model. Last month, Arkansas CIO Yessica Jones briefed the NASCIO Corporate Member Exchange on some of the recent changes in her state.

Probably the most impactful change was the re-organization following the passing of the Transformation and General Efficiencies Act during the past general legislative session. The act consolidated 42 departments into 15. Previously the Department of Information Systems, Arkansas’ central IT department reported directly to the governor, along with 41 other departments. Under the new structure, the Department of Information Systems has become a division under the Secretary for Transformation & Shared Services.

Jones believes that new department structure will improve IT project delivery, especially since all new secretaries have been tasked with identifying potential shared services opportunities. Several projects are already underway to deliver additional shared services to executive-branch agencies, including deploying enterprise-wide Microsoft Office 365, optimizing their data center, implementing mainframe as a service and several enterprise-wide agreements. Read more of this post

States Improving Cybersecurity Posture Through NGA Partnership

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

The National Governors Association (NGA) recently announced a partnership with states and territories that are looking to enhance their cybersecurity posture through the implementation of key controls to mitigate future attacks.

After a competitive application process, the six states and one territory chosen were Arkansas, Guam, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Washington. Through a series of workshops between now and the end of the year, NGA, along with their respective homeland security agencies and National Guard units, will coordinate with state agencies, local government and K-12 schools to develop methods of improving existing cybersecurity approaches.

During the workshops, participants will brainstorm new methods to protect critical infrastructure, and vendors may discover new business opportunities. In addition to developing more comprehensive strategies and collaborating with neighboring governments, the participants will be focusing on implementing six key controls outlined by the Center for Internet Security:

Read more of this post

Mayors Reveal Visions and Goals for New Fiscal Year

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

As we approach the start of a new fiscal year for many local governments, we’ve been able to catch a glimpse of the visions and goals for the upcoming year through State of the City addresses that highlight a city’s budget, goals and key issues. The importance of understanding these issues is the first step towards creating lasting relationships with local municipalities.

The National League of Cities has just released their 2019 State of the Cities Report  which analyzes the content of 153 of those State of the City speeches from around the country from cities of all sizes. Here are the top ten issues:

  1. Economic Development
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Health & Human Services
  4. Budgets & Management
  5. Energy & Environment
  6. Housing
  7. Public Safety
  8. Demographics
  9. Education
  10. Government Data & Technology

Most of the issues are not specifically technology related, however, that doesn’t mean that technology isn’t a vital component. Understanding the issues and what activities a city is planning to undertake to address them can give you insight into areas of opportunity. Read more of this post

Collaboration in Times of Consolidation: Hot Topic for State CIOs

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

NASCIO’s 2019 Midyear Conference last week brought together CIOs from 45 states and three territories and provided a multitude of opportunities to network with CIOs and state representatives, including 16 new CIOs from last year’s election cycle.

The overwhelming trend this year was collaboration, both internal to state governments and externally to their partners and constituents. Collaboration will be a key piece of the CIO’s arsenal as more and more states look toward consolidating and centralizing IT infrastructure.

Consolidation brings many benefits – from cost savings and improved management to better network visibility. By consolidating networks and infrastructure into a centrally managed data center or cloud environment, the CIO and staff will have more time to work on unique applications and delivering outcomes for their agencies. However, getting state entities to commit to and actively participate in a consolidation effort takes more than just the promise of cost savings.

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