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The CompTIA Public Technology Institute has conducted a survey for the 10th year in a row, which is intended to give an overview of the technology landscape in local government, showing the current priority issues and highlighting future opportunities. The survey was based off of a sample of sixty-one local government IT executives, representative of all types and sizes of local government. The survey goes into detail to explore topics such as Cybersecurity, IT executive priorities, and several other subjects.

IT Executive Priorities

When IT executives were asked to think about their key priorities for the next two years, 97% of respondents acknowledged that Cybersecurity was a key priority. Cybersecurity has been answered as the top priority in all of the past nine surveys. The other main priorities that participants established were modernizing outdated IT systems and applications (62%), innovation and applying technology in new ways to solve problems (52%), and IT workforce retention and attraction (50%).

All of these topics are important for organizations to focus on, in order to improve client satisfaction, user experience, and also playing a more proactive role in these departments. Cybersecurity has been repeatedly voted as the number one key priority for years and that is because cybersecurity threats have become more complex and frequent. IT executives must ensure that their organization’s information and systems are protected from cyber-attacks. Another main focus for IT executives is modernizing outdated IT systems, which helps an organization run effectively and efficiently. IT executives have the authority to explore new technologies and finding a way to apply them to their organization’s operations. With emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, companies can apply new technologies in order to improve customer experience, drive revenue growth and increase efficiency. The last priority that 50% of IT executives established was IT workforce and attraction. It is critical for IT executives to create a positive work environment that fosters professional growth and competitive compensation so that they can attract and retain employees.

Budgeting

After reviewing the results from the budget portion of the survey, most IT executives and government leadership (53%) had indicated that they expect an increase for their jurisdiction’s IT budget for the next fiscal year. It is necessary to think about your IT budget in order to reduce costs, standardize equipment, and initiate digital transformation. If an organization fails to have a proper budget for their needs, IT costs will easily skyrocket which could cause financial difficulties for businesses.

IT ROI and Analytics

After reviewing the results from the budget portion of the survey, most IT executives and government leadership (53%) had indicated that they expect an increase for their jurisdiction’s IT budget for the next fiscal year. It is necessary to think about your IT budget in order to reduce costs, standardize equipment, and initiate digital transformation. If an organization fails to have a proper budget for their needs, IT costs will easily skyrocket which could cause financial difficulties for businesses.

The Cloud

It is important to note that many IT executives expressed feeling like they had little to no choice to move to a cloud-based application due to their service provider or vendor. This is due to more applications being offered only in cloud versions. Nearly half of the respondents (46%) have migrated their on-premises infrastructure, including storage and virtual machines, to a private cloud. Meanwhile, 43% have shifted to a public cloud.

Delivering Digital Services

It is important to note that many IT executives expressed feeling like they had little to no choice to move to a cloud-based application due to their service provider or vendor. This is due to more applications being offered only in cloud versions. Nearly half of the respondents (46%) have migrated their on-premises infrastructure, including storage and virtual machines, to a private cloud. Meanwhile, 43% have shifted to a public cloud.

Managed Services

In terms of the usage of a managed services (remote IT services by a managed services provider (MSP) typically through an annual contract), 36% of respondents are currently using MSPs. On the other hand, 20% are considering using MSPs and 44% stated that their local governments are not currently or considering the use of managed services.

The survey provided a list of areas in which local governments currently using or considering managed services expect to utilize. The top three areas selected were cybersecurity and data loss prevention, IT support and desktop management, and network and broadband infrastructure management. At Apex, we help you gain a competitive edge by focusing on mission-critical tasks while we take care of all your IT requirements. Apex is an efficient managed IT service provider offering rapid response, increased productivity, improved efficiency, and reduced downtime.

IT Workforce Skills

IT executives were asked to provide their assessment of their IT team’s capabilities, skill level, and performance compared to their desired level. Twenty-one percent reported being about 90% where they want to be, 64% reported being about 75% of where they want to be, and 15% reported being about 50% of way there.

Participants were given a list of skills areas to improve and asked to select their top priorities for upskilling existing staff or hiring new employees. Cybersecurity emerged as the top priority, selected by 74% of participants. The other top priorities that ranked high were soft skills/professional skills (55%), infrastructure (45%), and data skills (43%).

Emerging/Future Tech

The survey revealed that local governments are actively exploring and adopting various emerging technologies. 78% of respondents identified automating technologies as an area of interest for their organization. Automation can help reduce costs, improve efficiency, and streamline operations. Artificial Intelligence (AI) was selected by 65% of respondents, which indicates that local governments are exploring the potential benefits of machine learning, predictive analytics, and other AI-based applications. Another 65% of respondents had also chosen Internet of Things (IoT). IoT technology can enable local governments to collect and analyze data from various sources, leading to more informed decision making, improved service delivery, and enhanced citizen engagement. With the continued evolution and advancements in these technologies, it will be interesting to see how local governments will incorporate them into their day-to-day operations.

Broadband

As a result of the pandemic and the availability of grant funding, many communities are under pressure to expand their broadband infrastructure. In light of this, we asked survey participants to assess their current status regarding broadband infrastructure. Only 15% of participants reported that they had achieved their desired level of broadband infrastructure.

Relationship with the State CIO

When asked about their jurisdiction’s relationship with the state CIO, local government IT executives gave varying responses. More than half (52%) reported no relationship, while 27% said their relationship was good but limited. Only 12% of IT executives reported an excellent relationship with the state CIO. These results are comparable to those of the 2022 survey, in which 54% of respondents reported no relationship with the state CIO.

The result was not unexpected, but it was disheartening, and it is an issue that has been recognized for the past ten years. State CIOs are not typically tasked with formal interactions with local governments. Furthermore, many state CIOs have expressed the challenge of establishing meaningful two-way communication outside of emergency situations. Nevertheless, some states have established effective programs, while others are devising governance and communication models to establish a network that will connect state and local officials.

Conclusion

The survey report offers insights into the current state of IT in city and county governments. Despite the challenges faced by IT executives, there are also opportunities to improve government services through innovation and emerging technologies. Professionals can be a crucial challenge but emphasizing the importance of public service and community impact can help.

Apex Technology Management has become a well-respected partner for both businesses and cities in California. The company has built a reputation for its reliability and trustworthiness by providing high-quality services that address critical IT challenges. With a strong emphasis on cybersecurity, Apex understands the significance of identifying and mitigating potential risks before they can cause any damage. The company’s expertise in managing IT budgets, providing managed services, and consulting has helped many clients achieve their goals. By working closely with clients, Apex can help create a more organized and cohesive IT environment that supports their business objectives. Overall, Apex Technology Management has proven to be a valuable partner for organizations looking to strengthen their IT infrastructure and cybersecurity posture.

Sources: https://comptiacdn.azureedge.net/webcontent/docs/default-source/research-reports/10385-pti-2023-state-of-city-and-county-it-national-survey-online.pdf?sfvrsn=5b258561_0

Kaitlin Giordano

Kaitlin Giordano is the Marketing Coordinator at Apex Technology Management, a California-based IT Support Company. She holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing from Boise State University. She has a passion for content writing and driving brand awareness.