Counties are Poised for More Cloud

From Todd Sander, Vice President of Research/Govtech - July 2017

Welcome to our Market Insights newsletter for July. This month we’re offering an advance look at findings from our 2017 Digital Counties Survey, and we’re tracking some interesting state workforce trends. Let me know how we’re doing tsander@erepublic.com.

Counties have only scratched the surface on potential cloud deployments. Early results from our 2017 Digital Counties Survey show the bulk of respondents have migrated 20 percent or less of their current systems and applications to the cloud. But more county cloud activity is on the horizon: Most respondents say more than half of their systems and apps ultimately can live on cloud-hosted platforms.

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The survey also found growing interest among county CIOs in artificial intelligence (AI). Respondents said using AI to improve analytics is their top AI-related investment priority. But they also expect to increase spending on AI for infrastructure inspections and benefits eligibility. The latter priority is particularly relevant, indicating that AI-driven capabilities could be an important part of system modernization in the $26 billion HHS IT vertical. Look for full results from our 2017 Digital Counties survey on govtech.com July 20.

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Michigan CIO David Behen, point man for Gov. Rick Snyder’s aggressive effort to modernize and digitize state government services, resigned June 16 to become vice president and CIO for Michigan-based furniture maker La-Z-Boy. During Behen’s six-year tenure, the state overhauled its procurement processes and updated a number of key systems. It also launched innovative digital services such as MiPage, a mobile app which uses predictive technology to connect citizens with government services and information. Brom Stibitz, deputy director of Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget, will serve as state CIO until a permanent replacement is named.

Meanwhile new CIOs are setting up shop in two big cities. Linda Gerull, former IT director for Pierce County, Wash., was named CIO of San Francisco by Mayor Ed Lee June 7. And Danielle DuMerer, former Chicago CTO, was named Chicago's CIO by Mayor Rahm Emanuel June 28. Gerull starts work July 17, replacing Miguel Gamiño who left San Francisco to serve as New York City CTO late last year. DuMerer has served as Chicago's interim CIO since the departure of CIO Brenna Berman earlier this year.

It’s no secret that governments struggle to attract IT staff, but our 2016 Digital States Survey shows where CIOs have the hardest time hiring. We asked state CIOs to rank their most pressing workforce needs, and filling positions in cybersecurity, business intelligence and analytics topped the list. The difficulty in finding qualified workers is pushing CIOs toward creative recruiting solutions like Hawaii’s pilot partnership with LinkedIn, which has boosted the number of applicants for IT positions tenfold, the state says. Hiring challenges also are increasing state interest in innovative staffing and outsourcing arrangements.

Workforce challenges were one topic of discussion at our June Digital States Performance Institute (DSPI) annual meeting in Cleveland. Tennessee CIO Mark Bengel explained how hiring changes in his state improved attraction and retention of key IT staff by more than 50 percent. Attendees also dug into the effective use of cybersecurity dashboards, the operational and political realities of adopting cloud solutions, and potential transitions triggered by 36 gubernatorial elections in 2018. Members of our DSPI program meet virtually and in person throughout the year to share ideas and best practices. Contact me if you’d like to join the conversation.

You can now push individual opportunities directly into Salesforce and search for deals in specific jurisdictions or sales territories with our newly rebuilt Govtech Navigator. We’ve retooled Navigator -- our sales intelligence platform for the $100 billion state and local government IT market -- to be more powerful and user friendly throughout. We also supercharged the technology behind Navigator to help you locate sales opportunities, key contacts and market intelligence faster than ever. Contact Joe Morris, our director of market intelligence, if you’d like to take a test drive.