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Leading the Way: State and Local CIO Priorities for 2023

There's no question that a responsive, innovative government is more critical than ever. Here are some issues that are top of mind for state and local technology leaders as we take on the new year.

large crowd gathered with woman leading the way pointing to the right
The year 2023 seemed so far away when we began our careers serving people through technology. The world of government has changed over those years to become a multifaceted experience driving services to multiple generations of diverse constituents. Where will this government experience head in 2023 with the push toward AI and other emerging technological innovations? We don't have a crystal ball, but we do have all of you, the state and local technology leaders to help guide us forward.

The Center for Digital Government* (CDG) recently held a gathering of some of the best and brightest in government IT at our Envision Summit in Austin, Texas. The conversations were amazing and the hope for the future burns bright. While this column cannot do all those conversations justice, here are some highlights of what everyone sees as being high on the priority list for the new year.
  1. The need to attract and retain quality technology professionals to get the work done. The people issues continue to drive the narrative forward.
  2. The need to be safe and secure still rides on top of the priority list. Cybersecurity will always be No. 1!
  3. Based on our discussions, we see the need to grow business relationship management in the changing government landscape to make sure that IT is moving in concert with the business units of government. Managing those relationships is paramount to success.
  4. The need to effectively manage projects from inception to delivery is going to be an important part of everyone’s 2023 plans. If you cannot get it done, then relationships could crumble, and all of that great work could be lost. Everyone agrees that money is flowing, and expectations are high — how will you manage the much-needed projects to meet those expectations?
    — What skills are needed for strong project management?
    — What skills are needed to manage stakeholder expectations?
    — What is the right mix of in-house and strategically outsourced project managers?
    — Do you have the right policies and processes in place to make project managers effective?
  5. The need to truly reform the way governments buy technologies. The pandemic taught everyone an important lesson on how a speedy procurement process can help deliver technologies at faster speeds than ever before. Technology changes so rapidly that the traditional way of procuring tech can potentially doom a project before it can even be delivered. What did we learn from crisis procurement that can be leveraged going forward?
    — Can you still include transparency and safeguards as you modernize procurement to be more agile?
    — Managing expectations can come in many forms.
    — Speed to solution is important in this fast-moving world of technology.
    — Use of collaboratively bid contracts develop the ability to work closely with private partners to streamline the process.
  6. The changing role of the CIO: There was significant discussion surrounding the need to build the right culture and to position the CIO, or tech leader, in the right place in the government’s hierarchy. Discussions about the role of the tech leader are not new, but they are taking twists and turns as the need for technology grows. We agree that the role of the tech leader must be part of our 2023 vision if we are to help drive the right narrative for the near future.
    — What will be the role of the CIO tomorrow? It is ever-changing, but particularly important to building the right culture for your government.
    — How will you attract quality people?
    — Can you compete with the private sector for the best?
    — Having the right culture that welcomes everyone onto your team is necessary.

We at CDG see 2023 as a year where the world of technology will gain prominence like it never has before. Leadership issues are coming into sharp focus to deliver future plans for cybersecurity and data-driven government. Delivering the right technologies at the right time will change the game for everyone. We are here to help make government better so if you need us, just ask and we are there. Welcome to 2023 everyone!

*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, Government Technology's parent company.