Cybersecurity, legacy systems and IT consolidation are all hot topics across government today, especially at the state level. For state and local governments, it’s critical to modernize technologies while addressing a rapidly evolving cyberthreat landscape. But doing so is no easy feat, especially given constrained budgets and resources at the state level. It’s up to state leaders to make the tough decisions of what to prioritize and what technology solutions and platforms to use.
Fortunately, many state leaders are finding ways to innovate and navigate their technology challenges. At the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO’s) 2017 Midyear Conference, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) from all over the country came together to share their insights and glean best practices on navigating current tech challenges facing state and local governments.
Every year, NASCIO conducts a survey of the state CIOs to identify and prioritize the top policy and technology issues facing state government. For 2017, the top 10 priorities are:
- Security and risk management: Manage governance, budget and resource requirements as well as security frameworks, training awareness and insider threats.
- Consolidation/Optimization: Centralize and consolidate services, operations, resources, infrastructure and marketing.
- Cloud services: Choose cloud strategy, services and deployment models, governance and service management, and manage security and privacy concerns.
- Budget and cost control: Manage budget reduction, select strategies for savings and deal with budget constraints.
- Legacy modernization: Enhance, renovate and replace legacy platforms and applications.
- Enterprise IT: Plan IT enterprise policy, improve IT governance and collaborate as part of a state enterprise.
- Data management and analytics: Establish data architecture, strategies and incorporate business intelligence and predictive analytics.
- Enterprise vision and roadmap for IT: Create an IT roadmap, gain leadership buy-in and align with governors’ policy agendas.
- Agile and incremental software delivery: Incorporate iterative design and incremental development of software solutions, prototype capabilities and allow for modifications during development process.
- Broadband wireless connectivity: Strengthen statewide connectivity and implement broadband technology opportunities.
At the Midyear conference, several state CIOs shared how their teams were addressing these priorities. This is how two different states addressed their two different, but equally important, priorities from NASCIO’s list:
Wisconsin and Broadband/Wireless Connectivity
David Cagigal, CIO of Wisconsin, shared how Wisconsin is achieving better and broader connectivity through its broadband strategy.
“Last year, Governor Walker conducted over 70 listening sessions across the state,” Cagigal said. “The need for reliable broadband service and availability was discussed at nearly ever session.”
Wisconsin’s broadband strategy is intended to address the governor’s top priorities, including attracting more businesses, providing greater access to online training in job centers and libraries and increasing self-service portals as well as broadband infrastructure.
As part of its strategy, the state is addressing four major initiatives:
- BadgerNet: BadgerNet is Wisconsin’s state-wide network serving all 72 counties. The network provides wide area network, Internet transport and video applications to state government and educational entities.
- CAF-II: This map identifies the areas where some of the nation’s largest phone companies, also known as price cap carriers, accepted Phase II support from the Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund to provide broadband and voice service over the next six years.
- FirstNet: In an effort to establish communications interoperability, Wisconsin implemented a seamless, statewide public safety radio network. FirstNet is designed to help different jurisdictions share information effortlessly and in real-time in any emergency events, like multiple car accidents, natural disasters or even terrorist attacks.
- NextGen 9-1-1: Next Generation 9-1-1 is aimed at updating the 9-1-1 service infrastructure in the US and Canada to improve public emergency communications services in a wireless mobile society. The initiative aims to enable the public to transmit text, images, video and data to the 9-1-1 center in addition to calling in.
Not only can broadband capabilities help better engage citizens and save costs for state governments, but Wisconsin proves that a comprehensive broadband strategy may even help save lives.
Michigan’s Data Management and Analytics
To improve and simplify government’s services for citizens and businesses, Michigan’s IT team focused on harnessing big data to make a more citizen-centric government.
“The Michigan story is all about data,” David Behen, CIO of Michigan, said. “We use business intelligence and data analytics to drive our customer service strategy.”
One recent success is Michigan’s MiPage. MiPage, which is intended to make Michigan more mobile, is a free application that serves citizens as a real-time link to all things related to the state. Using predictive analytics, residents sign up with one log in to use any service from any device, with any capability.
For example, Michigan residents can inquire of their favorite places in the state and get the latest news and events for those specific locations. They can also use a comprehensive map to find a state office or a nearby campground. Additionally, residents can even use mobile-ready applications to get information about job openings or where to vote during election cycles.
To address privacy and security concerns that come with saving individuals’ personal data, Behen said the state is getting ready to launch Michigan’s Cyberthreat Analytics Center.
“We want to use data to customize our services with people while protecting their information at the same time,” Behen said.
The state of Michigan remains committed to an “open door” approach to government where elected officials are held accountable for delivering results. Michigan’s secure data and analytics strategy not only improves its customer services, but also keeps Michigan more accountable to its residents.
CIOs certainly have their work cut out for them in addressing NASCIO’s top 10 priorities. But what states like Wisconsin and Michigan demonstrate is that, with the right leadership and strategies, secure and cost efficient technology modernization is possible for state governments.