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2021 State CIO survey: Driving digital acceleration

2021 was a year that continued to be dominated by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this twelfth annual state chief information officer (CIO) survey, we received the perspective of 49 state and territory CIOs on the short- and long-term impact of the pandemic for state CIO organizations. We also received updates from CIOs on many of the traditional topics covered by the survey, including digital transformation, adoption of cloud, emerging technologies and legacy modernization. A major theme of this year’s survey is whether the accelerated pace of state technology and digital services transformation over the past eighteen months will persist beyond the pandemic.

In the 2021 State CIO Survey we asked a variety of open-ended questions about COVID-19 and how things have or will change because of the pandemic and what might remain the same. CIOs were introspective and have clearly learned a lot since early 2020. For CIOs, there is no going back to pre-pandemic business models. State CIOs told us that the pandemic has highlighted the value of technology and how it is critical to delivery of government services and to productivity of state employees. CIOs also thought their role could become even more important in the workforce conversation as remote work policies and culture begins to change.

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