Though the word may be overused, state and local governments are indeed facing unprecedented challenges. Forced to move operations online in response to their own stay-at-home orders, state and local agencies have spent the last year retooling how they serve citizens. They have been paying for necessary technology upgrades and other new equipment while revenues from taxes have dropped considerably. Even with these financial challenges, state CIOs are committed to continuing with their innovation and modernization efforts.
A study from the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) showed that priorities for state and local CIOs stayed consistent over the last year, with cybersecurity and enhancing digital citizen service being the top two. Of course, these two areas saw critical investments in 2020 just to keep the business of government running. In 2021, the solutions put in place will be revisited, evaluated for efficiency, and operationalized to support agencies moving forward.
Cloud came in third on the priority list, with 41% of respondents saying their state had a cloud-first strategy. The priorities in implementing cloud are to support email, disaster recovery, office productivity applications, ERP systems, and security services/monitoring. To make it easier for states to acquire trusted cloud services, one non-profit is looking to build on the FedRAMP program to offer a StateRAMP security certification. This would expand the number of vendors states could use as many cloud service providers, well-positioned to support the state and local market, may not have FedRAMP credentials.
There are a number of events and resources to help state and local agencies (and the companies that support them) navigate the challenges of the day.
- Staying Connected: The Collaboration Tools and Strategies that Can Unite the Government Workforce (March 16, 2021; webcast) -- As the government workforce shifts to a more hybrid environment, with employees working at home and in the office, government leaders will need to evaluate the collaboration technologies that bring the most value to their organizations and the processes they may need to rework.
- Town Hall: One Year into the COVID Crisis (March 23, 2021; webcast) -- State and local leaders have faced their greatest challenges to protect residents' health while also dealing with severe economic turmoil and uncertainty. This town hall will explore the grave toll the pandemic has taken and how states, cities, and counties plan to move forward in a way that makes them more resilient and equitable.
- The Gov Tech Show: Clearing Up the Cloud (March 23, 2021; webcast) -- This event will explore a fresh take on the promise of cloud. Speakers will dive into the Top 10 myths about cloud and engage attendees in interactive games.
- ASPA's 2021 Annual Conference (April 9-15, 2021; virtual) -- The American Society for Public Administration has themed their 2021 event, "Picking up the Pieces: Pandemics, Protests, and the Future of Public Service." Keynote speakers, presidential panels, Chapter and Section meetings, networking events, an exhibit hall, awards, and more make this a fully featured event.
- AI for Everyone (P.S. It's Easier Than You Think) (April 13, 2021; webcast) -- Public servants across every mission in government pioneered new use cases for AI, sometimes rolling out solutions at a very low cost, very rapidly, and with a huge mission impact. In this virtual fireside chat, experts will discuss how AI is not only attainable for your organization, but it may be a surprisingly less costly and more efficient way to operate significant business operations to pursue your mission.
- Smart Cities Connect (April 13-14, 2021; virtual) -- This event highlights smart city innovation in North America with an aim to accelerate the adoption of smart technology solutions, aid in problem-solving, and amplify city resources for the betterment of cities, communities, and their citizens.
- The Agile State CIO: Leading in a Time of Uncertainty (white paper) -- This eleventh annual state chief information officer (CIO) survey includes the perspective of 47 state and territory CIOs on the extraordinary and unprecedented challenges they faced in 2020. It also includes many of the survey's traditional topics, including CIO organization business models, digital government, adoption of cloud and emerging technologies, and state and local collaboration.