Top Priorities For State CIOs: 2016 - InformationWeek
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12/31/2015
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Top Priorities For State CIOs: 2016

State government CIOs face many of the same challenges that private sector IT executives do, such as updating systems for a digital world, securing those systems, and leveraging big data. Here are their top 10 priorities, according to NASCIO's annual membership poll.
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(Image: traveler1116/iStockphoto)

(Image: traveler1116/iStockphoto)

Today's CIOs frequently find their priorities split between opposites. They must maintain existing systems and services that have formed the backbone of traditional IT. But they also have to find the money to invest in the real-time, data-driven, customer-focused initiatives that form the backbone of the new technology infrastructure that modern organizations are built on, or they risk getting left behind. Think about Uber and the taxi cab business, Netflix and the video store, Amazon and the retail book store.

Government CIOs face these same challenges, and a recent survey of the membership of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) shows how the US state technology priorities both align with those of private sector organizations and how they differ.

[Looking for the 2016 cheat sheet for CIO priorities? Read 10 Skills CIOs Need To Survive, Thrive In 2016.]

"On one hand, the state CIO really has to be pragmatic. They have to be the person talking about the life cycle of these monolithic IT systems," Darryl Ackley, CIO of New Mexico, told InformationWeek in an interview. Ackley is also the current president of NASCIO. "On the other hand, you've got an increasingly short time frame to adopt new things like Web and mobile. And it's not just a tech problem. It's also a staffing and resourcing problem."

Ackley said state CIOs must balance these priorities -- the cost center of traditional IT versus the business-savvy adviser on Agile development and implementations -- while at the same time navigating cultural, political, and resource challenges.

State CIOs face budgeting challenges. In most states, Ackley said, IT is charged to various departments as a shared service, but the rates for those services are set based on the previous year's data. Plus, rates are not just based on this data. They are set by committee, so proposed rates face a long path to approval.

It's within this storm of opposing forces, politics, and trends within the greater technology market that CIOs must implement initiatives for state technology agendas. Here's a look at the 10 top priorities for US state CIOs in the new year.

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Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, ... View Full Bio

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Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
1/4/2016 | 9:50:34 AM
Re: Agile
I agree, moving too fast too son can cause issues for other projects that might be tied into these new projects.  Often if the entire system isn't taken into consideration, there is some form of hinderance down the road.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 10:39:11 PM
Re: Different challenges
I really wonder if ROI determines what direction CIOs take. Sometimes they follow ROI blindly, otherwise how would they improve the economy?
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 10:36:20 PM
Re: Agile
@Shakeeb: I don't agree. Moving too fast too soon doesn't result in horizontal expansion which can be disastrous if there is no other backup plan. What if your vertical business model fails. What then?
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 10:34:39 PM
Re: Different challenges
@tzubair But the State CIOs should be having less to worry about because most of them only cater to a small percentage of population. I know ironically though that isn't the case. I wonder what parameters should a state CIO consider to go into a direction.
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 8:29:44 PM
Agile
Adopting to agile methodology will benefit the organization. A sprint will always help in getting a tangible/qualitative product.
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 8:25:52 PM
Re: Different challenges
Correct. It will not be right all the time. I think it's always better to consider a cost benefit analysis.
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2015 | 12:50:36 PM
Different challenges
 

"the cost center of traditional IT versus the business-savvy adviser on Agile development and implementations -- while at the same time navigating cultural, political, and resource challenges."

 

I think it's interesting to see how the challenges for State CIOs are much more difficult in nature and there are a larger number of stakeholders involved that need to be considered. Unlike the corporate CIO which has to balance between cost and performance, the state CIO needs to consider the socio-economic angle as well. What's profitable for only a small faction of the population isn't the right spending of tax-payers money even though it may have a very good ROI. The benefits must extend to the population at large even though the financial viablity might not be as strong.
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