State CIOs: Charting the Course during Uncertain Times

NASHVILLE, TN., September 30, 2014 – The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), TechAmerica, and Grant Thornton LLP today release the 2014 annual survey of state chief information officers (CIOs), Charting the Course: Leading Collaboration During Uncertain Times. As major changes continue to sweep through the state IT landscape, the fifth annual survey asked state CIOs to share their perspective on the status and future direction of the state CIO organization and the overall enterprise. While the survey covered a wide variety of topics, we asked CIOs to focus particularly on three main topics – the planning and oversight of critical projects, sourcing and the use of data as a strategic asset. These topics share a common theme in that they all require the CIO to establish priorities and to collaborate with stakeholders and multiple external organizations.

Last year’s survey identified how state CIOs are advancing their enterprise vision for information technology (IT) and integrating governance and portfolio management across the state. While these trends continue, CIOs are facing greater scrutiny than ever in the management of large IT investments and greater challenges than ever in the coordinating the efforts of a diverse array of stakeholders. For the first time in the survey series, state CIOs were questioned on enterprise data management.

“Our findings reveal states differing widely in their data management approaches and capabilities,” says Doug Robinson, NASCIO’s Executive Director. “The explosive growth of data has added more complexity and challenges to this discussion, however an overwhelming majority of State CIOs believe their appropriate role is to take the lead and advocate for data as a strategic asset.”

“As procurement has been an area of concern on prior surveys, what impressed me most in the 2014 results is that state CIOs have expressed a moderate level of confidence in their state’s procurement abilities,” says Russ Guarna, Vice President for State and Local Government at TechAmerica. “I believe this shows a growing trend that procurement can be a partner in facilitating the acquisition of technology solutions.”

The survey finds that the role of the CIO continues to evolve. Critical projects grow larger and more complex, the delivery of services involves an ever more complex supply chain, and data assets are more unstructured and distributed more widely than ever. CIOs continue to have to adapt to these new circumstances. The CIO is increasingly a broker of services – they must coordinate the activities of multiple disparate entities, many of them are commercial organizations with their own drivers and objectives. In the absence of extra resources and facing challenges in staff retention and training, innovation continues to be an important weapon in the CIO arsenal.

“State CIOs are facing increasing pressure to deliver results from their largest, most complex technology-enabled transformation projects,” says Graeme Finley, Managing Director in Grant Thornton’s Global Public Sector practice. “Some highly publicized project failures in the past year have only increased the public and legislative attention on these mission-critical IT investments. CIOs are continuing to emphasize the importance of the procurement process in creating a solid foundation for these projects. They are also recognizing that managing the relationship with system integrators is increasingly a critical skill for states, and they are increasingly looking for alternative approaches that reduce the size and duration of these projects and that enable incremental delivery of benefits.”

You may find the complete report at