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NASCIO Report Highlights Citizen-Centric IT Trends, Lessons Learned

The latest publication from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers looks at strides government has made serving citizens in the digital age. The report compares current status to a 2001 call to action.

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Mapping the progression of digital government over the course of the last two decades is the focus of a new National Association of State Chief Information Officers report.

The publication compares the current status of governments’ use of technology in the pursuit of citizen services to its 2001 call to action, where it urged government agencies to adopt innovative technologies aimed at fostering a better relationship with constituents.

For the latest report, NASCIO conducted interviews with current state chief information officers (CIOs) and complemented this data with insights gleaned from previous state CIO surveys and State CIO Top Ten Priority lists to create their findings.

In a 2022 survey mentioned in the NASCIO report, CIOs described barriers they were facing last year to providing citizen-centric technology services. The survey found that 63 percent of state CIOs felt that workforce skills and capability constraints to implement digital services were plaguing progression. Subsequent notable concerns included a lack of organizational agility or flexibility, and inadequate funding to address immediate public needs, both registering at 43 percent.

Some CIO considerations also centered on the challenge of an often siloed organizational approach. For example, citizens being tasked with visiting several websites for services rather than the information being consolidated into one source. CIOs specifically mentioned they have faced “challenges convincing an agency” that they are all part of the same state government in order to work together effectively.

However, steps are being taken to combat these issues based on NASCIO interviews and research from this year due to new internal change management strategies and legal/regulatory factors. The findings concluded that CIOs have begun delivering a positive citizen experience through digital services that can be witnessed in projects like the “citizen one-stop shop anywhere, anytime, devices” highlighted in Montana’s strategic IT plan or California’s ease of use website that showcases over 130 languages that citizens can choose from through a convenient drop-down menu.

On the legal and regulatory front, governors and legislators are supporting strategies and operations more than ever to enhance the citizen experience through digital government services, as seen in Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte’s challenge for state agencies to become 100 percent digitized — with the Montana Department of Commerce becoming the first to do so. The state of Pennsylvania also passed legislation through an executive order to create the Office of Transformation and Opportunity to streamline government processes and services.

In their progression towards a citizen-centric government, agencies have also introduced new c-suite roles and job titles such as director of customer experience; director of digital services; chief of service experience; chief experience officer; and chief engagement officer, according to the report.

As they look toward the future, the CIOs featured in the NASCIO report described six pivotal priorities aimed at further elevating the quality of digitized services, all with the overall objective of enhancing the lives of citizens.

These priorities encompassed a focus on governance and project oversight to forge an enterprise vision; active engagement of stakeholders, including citizens, employees, policymakers and legislators; a robust commitment to cybersecurity and citizen data privacy, underpinned by comprehensive training initiatives; the adoption of a seamless, uniform “no wrong door” approach; the development of a promotional agenda to underscore the value of digital services; and the establishment of sustainable metrics to systematically monitor and enhance service quality over time.