Published on January 10, 2024, 8:13 pm
For the first time in almost twenty years, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has updated its strategic plan and mission statement. In a special report released by StateScoop and EdScoop, NASCIO revealed the changes, which include a reworded vision statement and goals that reflect the current environment and future direction of technology leadership.
While these updates may appear minor to an outsider, they hold significant meaning for NASCIO and its members. The association represents statewide CIOs across the United States and territories, and their revised vision statement now emphasizes the importance of “trusted collaboration” and partnerships alongside technology leadership.
According to Doug Robinson, NASCIO’s executive director, these changes were necessary due to shifting external factors. He explained that organizations must evaluate their missions periodically to ensure alignment with the current environment. While NASCIO did not engage in formal scenario planning, their executive committee discussed the changing landscape and determined that adjustments were required.
In addition to updating its mission statement, NASCIO also made tweaks throughout its strategic plan. One notable change was replacing the term “information technology” with “technology.” Jim Weaver, North Carolina’s CIO and current president of NASCIO, clarified that this modification signifies a recognition of broader technological advancements beyond infrastructure and operations. This includes emerging technologies like generative AI influencing business processes.
Over the past decade, state CIOs’ roles have undergone significant transformation. Traditionally focused on supporting infrastructure requirements for other agencies’ websites, telephones, and desktop computers, they are now responsible for a wider range of duties. Several years ago, NASCIO introduced the concept of the “CIO as a broker of services,” highlighting this evolution.
Weaver recounted a conversation with a state legislator who mistakenly believed that managing data centers was solely within a CIO’s purview. However, Weaver emphasized that state CIOs have diverse portfolios that extend far beyond data centers. They oversee initiatives such as broadband programs, next-gen 911 services, health information exchanges, and Government Data Analytics Centers. By broadening their responsibilities, state CIOs enhance their ability to drive innovation and efficiency across government agencies.
As part of its revised goals, NASCIO added advocacy for a “highly skilled and resilient technology workforce.” This acknowledges the ongoing challenges faced by state governments when competing with the private sector for top tech talent. Recognizing the importance of attracting and retaining skilled professionals is crucial for driving digital transformation in the public sector.
Doug Robinson highlighted that NASCIO has experienced similar changes throughout its history, including two name changes. The association was formerly known as the National Association of State Information Systems (NASIS), a name that no longer made sense due to outdated terminology and the fact that NASCIO represents individuals rather than inanimate objects.
In conclusion, NASCIO’s updates to its strategic plan signal a proactive approach to adapt to changing times. By embracing key elements such as collaboration, technology leadership, and a highly skilled workforce, NASCIO is positioning itself and its members for success in today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape.