With the threat of cyberattacks and technology tools more prominent than ever in a remote world, state government CIOs have their heads in the cloud (technologies).
A new study from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), which represents CIOs who work in state governments and Arlington, Virginia-based Accenture Federal Services took a look at how state governments use cloud technology and infrastructure. The study is based on interviews, workshops, panels and an online survey of state CIOs from May of this year. The report states that 35 state CIOs completed the survey.
According the report, the cloud market is bigger than ever before. Despite there being “few” software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service providers, as well as “virtually no” platform as a service offerings in the early 2000s, the report states, huge strides have been made. It notes that the number of companies that offer SaaS boomed from 450 in 2000 to more than 15,000 in 2020.
As the interest grows, so did the want for cloud technology within state government. The term cloud, the report also found, made its first appearance on NASCIO’s Top Ten priority list in 2010. Yet, it noted, that many CIOs still found major barriers that slowed the transition to the use of cloud technology: primarily, budgeting, cybersecurity management, workforce and procurements all slowed progress.
“We found state CIOs widely acknowledge benefits from shifting to the cloud, including potential cost savings, system flexibility, scalability, security and improved citizen experiences,” said Doug Robinson, NASCIO executive director, in a statement. “And many of them want to more aggressively address perceived barriers that stand in the way of tapping more cloud power to advance digital and operational capabilities, so we offer this new report as a resource.”
Here are some of the study’s main findings:
- Of the respondents, 89% say their state governments still use a mainframe computer, with 71% saying they have yet to move any mainframe applications to the cloud — important for implementing the cloud.
- The CIOs also noted they’d like to see more cloud offerings in integration, pricing and transparency.
- 54% of CIOs questioned for the report say they prefer the operating expenditure (OpEx) for cloud budgets. The report states the day-to-day budget line is more conducive to the cloud, given that these services often run on subscription models. Meanwhile, 24% say that their state still prefers capital expenditure budgets, known as CapEx, which is the budget focused more on long-term costs.
As a whole, state governments are also looking to embrace hybrid cloud models, which mix on-premises, public and private cloud storage and infrastructure. But, while states might be looking to add cloud tech, only 54% of respondents have firm IT management strategies as they shift to the cloud.
“There is inevitably going to be continued strong uptake of cloud by state governments intent on making best use of their people and budgets and better serving their citizens,” said Ryan Oakes, Accenture managing director for the public sector. “With many states still early in their cloud journey, there are abundant opportunities for them to move forward in a more systematic and disciplined manner.”
Going forward, Accenture and NASCIO will be completing additional iterations of the study biennially.