State CIOs frustrated by IT roadblocks

October 19, 2013 in Medical Technology

As state CIOs are tasked with providing more and more innovative but cost-effective services, many are frustrated by state laws and processes they say are behind the times, limiting their choices for technologies such cloud and SaaS tools.

It’s a balancing act – providing high-quality, innovative services in times of mostly flat budgets – that has state IT leaders adapting by “focusing on the enterprise” and “coordinating across boundaries,” a survey by the National Association of State CIOs found.

[See also: State CIOs clamor for enterprise IT]

Many are integrating IT governance and portfolio management across state agencies, improving IT procurement, using statewide identity and access management tools and even collaborating with other states or with local governments, according to NASCIO’s survey, conducted with the consultancy Grant Thornton and the trade group TechAmerica.

“The reforms they are driving consistently embrace a common philosophy: adopt an enterprise vision, drive enterprise thinking, and implement enterprise solutions,” Doug Robinson, NASCIO’s executive director, said in a media release.

“Whether it is IT shared services, security vulnerability monitoring, or software-as-a-service, many of the most critical initiatives under way today require an enterprise-wide approach in order to be effective,” said Robinson, a who previously worked in several government IT roles for the commonwealth of Kentucky.

Among the reform efforts underway in many states is a movement toward standardizing IT oversight across state agencies – a crucial foundation for meeting the vision of an enterprise portfolio. CIOs from 36 states have a formal IT enterprise portfolio management process for decisions on planned initiatives, projects, or ongoing IT services, the survey found.

[See also: HHS allots $241M for state insurance exchange IT]

While state CIOs are divided on whether their states are equitably sharing risk with IT vendors, according to the survey, many of them expressed some common goals for procurement reforms: better training, more opportunity for negotiation with vendors and development of standard terms and conditions for cloud and SaaS offerings.

But much as cloud-based services are coming to the fore as more sustainable ways to build enterprise government IT services – especially in one of the largest areas, health and human services – about half of the state CIOs surveyed said their states’ current legal frameworks are not conducive to using cloud solutions.

While 36 CIOs said they have some state IT services running in the cloud, only three CIOs said their state is “heavily invested” in cloud technology and 11 said they’re still investigating.

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