State CIOs Focusing on “Connecting to the Customer,” Survey Says

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) released its annual “State of the CIO Survey” today and found that state CIOs are increasingly focused on managing customer relationships.

“[W]e have highlighted the enhanced focus state CIOs are placing on being proactive in anticipating and responding to customer needs,” said Graeme Finley, principal with Grant Thornton’s Public Sector practice. “From establishing dedicated units to managing customer relationships to increasing the transparency in how they charge for services, CIOs are now more than ever treating strong customer relationships as vital to their success.”

The report found that “a key theme that emerged from the survey was an increased focus on customers of the state CIO organization, whether they are state agency customers, local government partners or citizens taking advantage of state technology services.” The report continued to note that “customer needs and viewpoints were prevalent in many of the survey topics, whether discussing how CIO organizations structure themselves to respond to state customer needs, identifying the financial and economic models used to fund IT services or responding to citizen expectations of new and emerging technology.”

The survey, which is in collaboration with Grant Thornton and CompTIA and is based on survey responses from 49 state and territory CIOs, noted that “nearly all CIOs expressed the clear sentiment that they want to be an enabler of success to their agency customers, and to do that they must take an active role to build relationships from the senior executives down through the technology staff.”

Of the 48 states that responded to the survey, 36 have customer relationship management (CRM) initiatives in place and the other six are currently in the planning state to develop their own formal initiatives. NASCIO also noted that state CIOs have a clear understanding that CRM is an ongoing process and have been assigning CRM leaders as part of their formal CRM plans. Additionally, training has been a big focus among CIOs in order to ensure a consistent approach to CRM.

In addition to the topline news regarding the growing focus on the CIO’s customers, the report also delves into the changing CIO business models, IT cost management, workforce, cybersecurity, performance management, acquisition, cloud services, digital government, data management and analytics, and emerging technologies.

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