The ninth annual State CIO Survey has revealed a changing focus for State Chief Information Officers. Whereas previously CIOs have mainly concentrated on IT infrastructure, there has been a noticeable trend towards greater involvement in communication, relationship-building and strategic thinking.
The survey - “The Evolving Nature of Technology Leadership” - engaged Chief Information Officers (or their representatives) from all fifty states in order to establish the critical success factors for a CIO in 2018. Three areas in particular demonstrate how CIOs are evolving state IT services - by overcoming operational issues, leading the push towards digital government, and automating services.
In order to be successful in these areas, the majority of CIOs (78%) reported having a voice in state agency strategy and strategic initiatives, and using that voice to drive innovation and modernization programs. At the top of the agenda in this role was outsourcing services, or taking advantage of SaaS services, in order to eliminate capital expenses and innovate/modernize via operating expenses.
The Top 7 Reasons for Outsourcing/Using SaaS Services
The CIOs were asked which strategic or operational issues were responsible for putting outsourcing and SaaS services at the top of their agenda. The responses were not surprising, as outsourcing services and taking advantage of cloud-hosted services not only reduces infrastructure and operational costs, but also gives states access to resources that may not exist in their on-premises infrastructures:
- Cost Effectiveness
- Modern Capabilities
- Quality of Services
- Improved Business Outcomes
- Access to Qualified Resources
- Transition to Digital Government
What we found of interest is that certain SaaS solutions could play an important role in public safety IT infrastructure. Specifically, local governments could benefit from a solution that provides 9-1-1 telecommunicators and first responders with powerful capabilities for handling, dispatching, and responding to emergency calls more efficiently. Certain SaaS solutions do not require expensive hardware buildouts, are frequently updated to address the changing threat landscape, can be used to enhance emergency responses, and better manage coordination between 9-1-1, first responders, and emergency managers, leading to improved outcomes.
The Push towards Digital Government
With regard to transitioning to digital government, over two-thirds of respondents have, or plan to, establish a multi-agency governance council with the objective of leveraging data shared with one agency across multiple platforms. This is similar to how data shared between a fully-integrated public safety platform enables collaboration between agencies involved in public safety, incident response, emergency management, and communications.
Similarly, this solution integrates seamlessly with Smart911 - the free-to-use service that allows members of the public to create online safety profiles to better prepare first responders. Smart911 also alerts members of the public to imminent threats (severe weather, terrorist attack, active shooter, etc.), which achieves the CIOs' objectives of increasing public engagement, providing mobile services, and establishing common online identities.
The Bond between Automation and Strategic Thinking
In the context of how CIOs are evolving state IT services, automation plays a critical role in strategic thinking. 78% of respondents to the survey commented that the driving force behind using automation software wherever possible was to improve services with faster and more accurate responses. This also aligns with how certain public safety solutions communicate with each other or automatically push critical information during an emergency between different platforms.
An example of this is when an authorized user activates a panic button app that integrates with solutions such as Smart911. 9-1-1 call takers automatically know the location and nature of the emergency, as do other stakeholders on the user's network. Emergency response teams are better informed of the scenario they are going to encounter with a fully-integrated platform, while two-way communication via the app provides emergency managers with enhanced situational awareness.
States that have already deployed these solutions have seen benefits in almost all the seven strategic or operational areas mentioned earlier. For example, Denver is one of the first cities in the country to provide its 9-1-1 team with a fully-integrated public safety platform that includes enhanced location data from every mobile 9-1-1 caller as well as panic buttons for every Uber ride that connect directly to 9-1-1. These initiatives align with the city's Smart Cities initiatives and could be part of your own program.
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