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.


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.


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.


The Path Forward: Life and Work After COVID-19

Session from the NASCIO 2020 Midyear Webcast Series

Panel: Mike Hussey, CIO, UT | Calvin Rhodes, CIO, GA | Ervan Rodgers, CIO, OH | Rob Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)

Watch the Recording 

Not Business as Usual: Technology and Process Innovations

Session from the NASCIO 2020 Midyear Webcast Series

Panel: Michael Leahy, CIO, MD | Nelson Moe, CIO, VA | Ed Toner, CIO, NE | Jeff Wann, CIO, MO

Watch the Recording 

Stronger Together: State & Local Cybersecurity Collaboration

Session from the NASCIO 2020 Midyear Webcast Series

Panel: Maria Thompson, State Chief Risk Officer, NC | Randy Cress, CIO, Rowan County, NC | Maggie Brunner, Program Director, National Governors Association (NGA) | Meredith Ward, Director of Policy & Research, NASCIO

Watch the Recording 

The State CIO Experience: Perspectives on COVID-19

Session from the NASCIO 2020 Midyear Webcast Series

Panel: Stephanie Dedmon, CIO, TN | Jim Weaver, CIO, WA | Curtis Wood, CIO, MA

(includes welcome remarks by NASCIO President Denis Goulet, Commissioner, New Hampshire)

Watch the Recording 

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.


Technology Forecast 2020: What State and Local Government Technology Officials Can Expect (webinar)

This popular, annual webinar, presented by PTI and NASCIO, provides an overview of the pressing technology issues that will be impacting state and local governments for the coming year.

Doug Robinson, Executive Director, NASCIO, and Alan Shark, Executive Director, PTI will share their views of the technology landscape based on recent research activities and conversations with state and local government technology leaders.

NASCIO’s Slide Deck | PTI’s Slide Deck

Watch the Recording 

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.


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.