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12/31/2015
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Jessica Davis
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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.



(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.

Elite 100 2016: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JAN. 15, 2016 There's still time to be a part of the prestigious InformationWeek Elite 100! Submit your company's application by Jan. 15, 2016. You'll find instructions and a submission form here: InformationWeek's Elite 100 2016.

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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