Top 10 State CIO Priorities for 2021

January 11, 2021 by Brian Aylward

Top 10 State CIO Priorities for 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmingly changed how public service is delivered to residents and how those programs are managed to report outcomes.

For nearly a decade, cities, counties, states, and federal agencies have been under pressure to reimagine public service to reduce bottlenecks and access gaps, improve engagement and connectivity, and strengthen public trust and an emerging workforce pipeline. The hardships caused by COVID-19 required the government sector to accelerate long-awaited innovation and pursue cross-jurisdictional collaboration to deliver more equitable and cost-effective programs to the public.

States have been in a unique position throughout COVID-19. They have been direct recipients of Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) and are in charge of the largest vaccination distribution campaign in history, among many other roles. Without a proper technology infrastructure in place, state agencies would be left making uninformed decisions and be overburdened with inefficiencies and disconnected management processes.

That’s why this year’s State CIO Top 10 Priorities from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) is more important than ever and shines a light on rising issues needing immediate attention.

Following are the most pressing policy and technology issues facing state government according to NASCIO.

NASCIO’s State CIO Top 10 Priorities

  1. Cybersecurity & Risk Management
    Cybersecurity has remained in the number one spot for several years. With the rise of cyberattacks on state and local government, this continues to be the highest priority for state CIOs.
  2. Digital Government/Digital Services
    Digital Government has remained in second place for the second year in a row. Improving civic experiences and accessibility has proven to be a high priority of all levels of government since the start of COVID-19.
  3. Cloud Services
    Cloud Services has been on the list since 2011 and remains in the top three for 2021. Cloud services reduce IT burden and expenditures over time, improve accessibility, and bolster security.
  4. Broadband/Wireless Connectivity
    Broadband was in ninth place in 2020. The obvious need to strengthen statewide connectivity as we work and learn from home has elevated broadband to a higher-level priority.
  5. Budget, Cost Control, Fiscal Management
    Budget has moved up on the list as a result of uncertain funding and reduced revenues stemming from COVID-19. Being able to effectively track, monitor, and report on a state’s fiscal health is imperative in the New Year.
  6. Data Management & Analytics
    Data Management & Analytics has also been elevated to a higher priority on the 2021 top ten list as data-sharing increases to solve for the disruptions caused by COVID-19.
  7. Consolidation/Optimization
    Down from the number four spot in 2020, consolidation remains in the overall top ten list again in 2021. This is not a surprise since agencies are requiring more specialized services to effectively operate and respond to the growing needs of the public.
  8. Identity & Access Management
    New for 2021, identity and access management has grown in priority. Being able to support residents with digital services and ensure government staff can work remotely will be a key priority area for state governments.
  9. Workforce
    Workforce has been absent on the top ten list since 2016. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have been preparing for the Silver Tsunami – the wave of Baby Boomers set to retire. Being able to transfer knowledge and bring fresh energy and new technology expectations into the public sector is a growing priority.
  10. Customer Relationship Management
    Moving down from the fifth spot in 2020, CRM still rounds out the 2021 top ten. Internal customer service strategies and demand planning will help bolster efforts to collaborate more effectively and streamline inefficiencies.

Also noted by NASCIO are the Top 10 Technologies, Applications, and Tools for 2021 that state CIO’s are paying close attention to in order to fulfill initiatives related to their priorities on strategy, policy, and management processes:

  1. Cloud Solutions
  2. Legacy Application Modernization/Renovation
  3. Identity and Access Management
  4. Artificial Intelligence/Robotic Process Automation
  5. Security Enhancement Tools
  6. Data Analytics
  7. Remote Work
  8. Enterprise Asset Management
  9. Collaboration Technologies
  10. Customer Service/Customer Relationship Management

As governments embark on the road to reopening and recovery, investment in these priorities can help the public sector overcome challenges, meet policy goals, and improve communities.

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