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State CIOs Struggle to Invest Properly, Report Says

Survey data from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers reveal an IT leadership faced with complex challenges.

State CIOs face big challenges when it comes to choosing IT investments, according to a new survey commissioned by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) and Infosys Public Services. State IT chiefs around the country are modernizing their systems, while spending large portions of their budgets on keeping old systems alive, according to the report Is State IT Working on the ‘Right Things’?

“While state IT departments are starting to address shortcomings in their decision criteria and processes, there is still a lot to be done,” NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson said in a statement. “Accelerating the pace of change will require principled direction, well defined operating schemes and improved investment in management practices.”

Many states, the survey found, lack defined business principles, process standardization and integration, which shake CIO confidence that they’re prioritizing the correct projects. The survey focused on four topics: alignment of IT business strategy, operating structure, infrastructure and applications, and investment management.

The report found that 38 percent of respondents said many of their IT decisions did not align with business strategies. While many CIOs reported the implementation of an enterprise operating model, 80 percent said those practices are not translating into actual practice. Only 53 percent of those surveyed reported a computing environment that includes a platform of standard business processes. And one of the most telling challenges, the report shows, is that 45 percent of states surveyed spend more than 80 percent of their budgets maintaining existing systems.

The 32-page report, which contains detailed study examination and analysis, can be downloaded for free from NASCIO’s website.