Chat with Us: How States are Using Chatbots to Respond to the Demands of COVID-19

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in March 2020, states experienced unprecedented surges in online inquiries and transactions. Many digital services and call centers supporting government services were overwhelmed.  Citizens were frustrated and the states needed to respond quickly with new approaches.  Automation, in the form of chatbots, was quickly developed and deployed to supplement existing human resources.  NASCIO research estimates that today around three-quarters of states are deploying chatbots to assist with questions on unemployment insurance, general COVID-19 questions or for other state agencies that may be receiving unusually high traffic due to the pandemic. These chatbots have responded to millions of citizen questions and continue to learn and build on the existing knowledge base.  This publication includes state examples, predictions for the future and links to state chatbots.

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The State CIO Operating Model: Leveraging the Power of the Four Forces

This paper is the next in our NASCIO series “CIO as Broker.”  We delve further into the dynamics of the Four Forces that form the foundation for the Government Change Framework developed by Integris Applied.

These Four Forces greatly influence what the state CIO develops in the way of business and technologies strategies which are represented in the annual state CIO Top Ten priority strategies, policy issues and management processes.  The Four Forces actually have a bidirectional nature in that the state CIO will also leverage these Four Forces in developing approaches for achieving positive citizen outcomes.  The particular actions that any state CIO actually takes depend on the state CIO strategy being pursued and the specific dynamics of the Four Forces that exist within a particular state government.

We provide two examples or cast studies using two of the 2020 Top Ten priorities.  These include priority #2 – digital government and priority #5 – customer relationship management.

Accompanying this report is a webcast of a discussion of these concepts with two state CIOs.  Mike Leahy, CIO for the State of Maryland, and Todd Kimbriel, former CIO for the State of Texas.

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Related Resource 

This webcast presents a discussion of how our state CIO panelists have addressed the business and technology challenges during COVID-19. The discussion includes strategies that recognize and leverage the Four Forces of Government Change Management. Join us to hear valuable insights presented by these state policy leaders as state government continues to address the current COVID-19 epidemic and plans to move forward to be prepared for post-COVID-19. Hosted by Eric Sweden, Program Director, Enterprise Architecture & Governance, NASCIO and facilitated by Patrick Moore, Managing Director, Integris Applied, Inc.

 

COVID-19 Planning and Response Guidance for State CIOs (v2 3.26.20)

Today we are facing a COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemic. The situation is dynamic and moving fast.

  • What is the role of the state chief information officer (CIO) in coordinating a response with the Governor’s office and other state agencies?
  • What is the role of the state CIO when planning for reduced staff?
  • What are the critical issues that need to be prioritized to ensure continuity of operations for your organization?
  • What are challenges related to expanded remote access for employees?
  • What are the potential cybersecurity risks?
  • How does the current circumstance impact the current project portfolio?

State CIOs have an obligation to ensure that IT services continue during this pandemic outbreak and planning for such a scenario has become essential. As such is it imperative that state CIOs have a seat at the table with government leaders and take an active role in the state response to COVID-19. There are simple steps that state CIOs can follow during the next days and weeks.

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The Future State CIO: How the Role will Drive Innovation

This report presents the results of a joint Accenture/NASCIO research project exploring the future role of the state CIO and how the state CIO will drive innovation.

The research included interviews and a survey of state CIOs to understand the role of state CIOs in promoting innovation in government.

  • The study explored how state IT organizations build the capacity to innovate and which best practices help in doing so.
  • We also examined how state CIOs embrace new and emerging technologies to create the best government outcomes.
  • Our report illuminates compelling opportunities, persistent obstacles, strategies for accelerating innovation and inspiring real-world case studies.
  • The report presents a set of practical recommendations for driving innovation.

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Related Blogs:

Stronger Together: State and Local Cybersecurity Collaboration

The National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) released Stronger Together: State and Local Cybersecurity Collaboration. With a dramatic uptick in ransomware attacks across the country, governors, state CIOs and state government executives are designing and implementing programs to strengthen local partnerships in cybersecurity. The publication outlines promising programs that states have initiated to enhance collaboration with their local government counterparts for cyber resilience. It also provides high-level recommendations for state officials looking to strengthen partnerships with local government officials on cybersecurity.

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State CIO Top Ten Policy and Technology Priorities for 2020

NASCIO conducts a survey of the state CIOs to identify and prioritize the top policy and technology issues facing state government. The CIOs top ten priorities are identified and used as input to NASCIO’s programs, planning for conference sessions, and publications.

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The 2019 State CIO Survey

In its 10th iteration, the 2019 State CIO Survey, The Responsive State CIO: Connecting to the Customer, takes a deep dive into how state IT leaders are targeting their responses to customer needs, in addition to managing the evolving IT responsibilities of state leaders. The survey is a joint publication of NASCIO, Grant Thornton LLP and CompTIA and includes responses from 49 state and territory CIOs on a range of issues. Two new topics for this year are customer relationship management and state and local collaboration. The 2019 State CIO Survey also highlights CIO business models, IT cost management, workforce, cybersecurity, performance management, acquisition, cloud services, digital government, data management and analytics and emerging technologies.

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Achieving the Promise of Artificial Intelligence

This year, NASCIO and the Center for Digital Government, with support from IBM, set out to understand state CIOs’ motivations, plans and deterrents around AI adoption. The survey, Delivering on Digital Government: Achieving the Promise of Artificial Intelligence, yielded responses from 45 states. The results reflect state leaders’ eagerness to gain efficiencies and free up their workforces for higher-value work, tempered by caution due to concerns around lack of data maturity and privacy policies, as well as a dearth of employees with the necessary skills for AI adoption.

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Relationships Matter Most

As more states have adopted an enterprise approach to managing IT and as the role of the CIO has evolved from solely being a provider of services, to a broker of shared services, CIOs have been focusing more on agency customer relationship management. In this publication we discuss current strategies to improve customer/agency relationships and we provide some key steps toward customer relationship success.

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The State CIO Operating Model: A Playbook for Managing Change in a Sustainable Way

This is the fourth in our NASCIO series “The CIO Operating System:  Managing Change in a Sustainable Way.”  It is also the culmination of the work from NASCIO’s project team and a partnership with Integris Applied, Inc., a corporate member of NASCIO, that began in January of 2018.  This is a playbook of eleven plays that any state or territory can utilize in order to move into a new operating model.  This operating model creates a highly disciplined state CIO organization that proactively engages with state agencies, understands current and emerging program and citizen needs, as well as maintains market awareness of current and emerging trends and offerings.  Moving into and maturing this model is essential for each state and territory to effectively map capability demand with capability supply.

This report looks to the past in that it is the highlight and culmination of the first year of this special project, synthesizing all the previous work which includes three reports, a recorded webinar, a survey of state CIOs.    It looks to the future in that the plays will be further developed with necessary guidance on how to effectively execute these eleven plays.  The next big push in this project will be the development of the “DevOps” for the new multisourcing operating model.  This playbook then becomes the launching point for the future.  In many ways this report and the project that produced it is an inflexion point coincident with NASCIO’s 50th anniversary.  Much has been accomplished within the NASCIO community in the past 50 years.  And we celebrate all of that.  Then we look to the future and consider “what is possible?”  This playbook is the first step into that future.  So fasten your seat belts, and get ready for the next major phase.  Its going to be a wonderful ride!
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