A recent survey of state CIOs shows most want upgraded IT governance and strengthened central IT organizations to provide better services and new efficiencies while working with tighter budgets.

Released Tuesday, July 27, by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), TechAmerica and Grant Thornton, the report found that CIOs are consolidating applications and data centers, rolling out shared services and managed services models, and embracing emerging technologies like cloud computing and social media -- while expecting smaller IT budgets and increased demands for new IT-enabled services.

"State governments will continue to endure tough fiscal conditions, which makes the state CIO's job even more challenging," NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson said in a press release. "However, the results of the survey clearly indicate this situation presents opportunities for CIOs to execute on cost-saving strategies, innovative business models and advance the use of emerging technologies."

Some of the highlights of the report (from the executive summary) include:

  • Two-thirds of CIOs expect lower IT budgets in 2011 through 2013. Some are turning to staff reductions, IT consolidation, shared services and other solutions to lower costs. However, they say that tight budgets stimulate creative solutions for increasing IT efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Many CIOs bear much of the responsibility for statewide IT governance but do not have an equal share of authority. About three out of five CIOs say their states have a formal IT enterprise portfolio management process, but on average give these processes a C grade for effectiveness.
  • In the next three years, most CIOs plan to expand IT shared services and managed services. New customers most likely to participate in IT shared services include state executive branch agencies and public educational institutions at all levels. 
  • CIOs give state IT procurement processes C grade and say that related laws, rules, processes and practices must be modernized and aligned with IT industry standards and best practices. Increasing CIOs' procurement authority and using trained and experienced IT procurement officials will improve how states acquire and deploy IT. 
  • Many CIOs say that cloud computing is nothing new, but half are investigating it and one-third are running active or pilot projects. Two-thirds report that state agencies are using social media (YouTube, Twitter and Facebook) and almost half use it themselves. Three out of five CIOs say their states are preparing social media policies for state agencies.

"The results of this survey provide valuable insight to state government legislative and executive leadership as they formulate new budgets and enact policy changes in the coming months," Hank Steininger, managing partner of Grant Thornton's global public sector practice said in the release. "With 37 governors' races this year, the information presented in this survey makes available to the incumbents and candidates the candid thoughts of the IT leadership on the current status of state IT as well as ways to improve efficiencies and operations and produce cost savings for states.

The survey was conducted in spring 2010 and included responses from 40 state and territorial CIOs, or their equivalents.