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The Challenges of 2021 Bring Opportunities for 2022

Technology leaders in government have a packed agenda that includes cybersecurity, analytics, modernization, broadband and digital equity. Going into the new year, resources are available to make significant progress.

Closeup of female feet in sneakers on a starting line labeled “2022.”
It is hard to believe that 2021 is coming to a close. Another year of being mostly locked down, with virtual meetings and gatherings. There were some bright spots where live events took place like this year’s National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) conference and our very own Envision event. What did we learn from the year 2021 that we can carry into a promising new year?

In 2021, we again witnessed heroic efforts by state and local governments across the nation. Balancing the technology needs of the pandemic with much-needed planning for the future was not easy but you all made it happen. Add in the influx of federal stimulus funds and you have the perfect storm where the value of technology, the much-needed funding, and the need to execute all come together in preparation for 2022.

We held a number of virtual workshops, events and webinars this past year and several important issues rose to the top. The need to keep your technologies secure maintains its No. 1 spot on priority lists. The attacks only got worse as government continued working remotely and implementing technology solutions at the speed of light. This will not change anytime soon and 2022 looks to be another banner year.

The modernization of legacy technologies also grew in importance as the pandemic exposed technical debt that every government must deal with. Updating foundational systems creates the solid footing on which to build quality digital services and deploy emerging technologies.

Also, data analytics became even more critical for governments of every size. One day you will emerge from tracking the spread of the virus and distributing vaccines to your constituents. The realization that a robust data management strategy will help you be successful has pushed you all to look for data professionals and build out strong data management policies and technologies.

2022 will start with a bang: the recently passed infrastructure legislation will bring new funds to support technology efforts. State and local governments will be challenged to balance cybersecurity, data, and technical debt issues while pushing forward on emerging technologies and keeping an eye on digital privacy.

The new year will also bring more attention to enhanced broadband implementations to ensure that constituents have the connectivity they need to take advantage of digital services while they work remotely. It will be essential to ensure that your services are provided to all constituents equitably. You and your peers will find ways to provide the technical advancements your communities desire by wrangling the right solutions, finding the right partners, and navigating an exceedingly difficult supply chain for equipment. Finding the right skills and talent will continue to be difficult as government and the private sector vie for a shrinking pool of potential employees. These challenges of a bogged down supply chain and unprecedented talent needs come just when money is beginning to flow, and your leadership is ready to invest. We are confident that you all have the leadership skills needed for this moment.

We at the Center for Digital Government are ready to jump in and help. Our events will be live again in 2022 so we can gather with you, your peers, and your partners to help solve problems. To paraphrase a line from the movie A Few Good Men, “you want us on that wall, you need us on that wall!” Enjoy your holidays and we will see you all in 2022.