What Happened When Government Technology Leaders Met?

Another National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) Midyear conference has come and gone in 2018. What did we learn and where can we go from here?

by / April 29, 2018
Oklahoma CIO Bo Reese kicks off NASCIO Midyear Conference 2018 in Baltimore - credit: D. Lohrmann

I participated in another excellent National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) Midyear Conference in Baltimore this week. The agenda was packed with excellent sessions. Here’s what you need to know — and items to consider doing next.

First, for those not familiar with the organization, NASCIO is where the top state government CIOs (and many local government CIOs) meet to network with peers, coordinate with elected officials, meet with congressional aides, share best technology practices and much more.

There has been quite a bit of turnover of state CIOs over the past few years, with plenty more change to come over the next 12 months as a result of the 2018 elections coming later this year.

Many of the main NASCIO conference takeaways were chronicled by the Government Technology magazine staff. Here are some of those excellent articles on various topics:

Video Interviews of CIOs

I also like these videos of state CIOs which cover a variety of relevant technology and cybersecurity topics:

Route Fifty also had several good CIO interviews which can be seen here at their YouTube channel.

More Background

Back in January 2018, we covered many ongoing issues and opportunities for the next few years in the public sector. The piece addressed the NASCIO and Public Technology Institute (PTI) priorities as well as perspectives from Deloitte, Grant Thornton and others.

The hot topics range from blockchain to elections and from artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles.

Recent developments such as ransomware in Atlanta and Colorado, as well as the election security topics have risen to the top of the stack of top concerns for technology leaders.   

Attracting and maintaining tech talent continues to be a challenge for state and local governments, and this topic came up often in my Baltimore conversations with technology leaders. 

One alternative: Michigan government leaders discussed their CISO-as-a-service for local governments during one breakout session, and the details of that program can be found here. Excerpt:

“A partnership between 11 local jurisdictions in Michigan will meet this week to discuss the future of the state’s CISO-as-a-Service pilot, developed to provide them with the high-level cybersecurity expertise needed to keep pace with the evolving threat landscape.

Michigan’s state government offered to fund the program for fiscal year 2018, but it’s up to the group of counties, cities, townships and villages to determine whether it will live on as part of an existing nonprofit or private-sector company, become a standalone venture or possibly remain with the state. …”

Final Thoughts

There is always a lot going on at the NASCIO Midyear meetings every spring. Federal government and nonprofit partners show up, as do many local government leaders. This year’s record attendance (over 600 people) almost made the event seem like an annual meeting — with many more vendors than state government officials attending. There were 48 state government CIOs present. (Note: The 2018 NASCIO Annual Conference is in San Diego, in October.)

Side discussion about cybersecurity were everywhere, along with a focus on machine learning, data analytics, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and more.

One hot discussion revolved around General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and whether state and local governments need to comply. There are a wide variety of viewpoints on this, and I will come back to this public-sector GDPR topic later this year.

I urge readers to view these excellent articles referenced and watch the state CIO videos to learn more on the thoughts and ideas coming from government technology leaders.