Results of State Government Modernization Research

A survey of state technology directors reveals that security ranks first on the list of legacy application issues facing states. Other top answers include software maintenance upgrades limited or unavailable, as well as extensibility, adaptability, agility—inability to revise.

The National Association of State Technology Directors (NASTD) distributed the survey to all 50 state central IT authorities in July 2022, with 38 states responding. The questions focused on six modernization topics: mainframe, process, budget, pandemic effects, workforce and governance.

Modernization Research Highlights


When asked what alternatives states foresee for mainframe operations, the answers, retiring and replacing, garnered the most responses.


Most states, 64%, chose not to collect citizen feedback on changes made to the engagement layer of their services; for those that collected citizen feedback, most collected the feedback informally versus a survey.


The survey asked: are cybersecurity funds providing support for state modernization efforts or are they focused solely on cybersecurity tools such as endpoint detection and response, anti-virus, etc.? Respondents answered: some, with review (53%), yes (26%) and no (21%).


For a whopping 84% of respondents, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated their state’s IT modernization efforts.


For most states, workforce recruitment and employee retention challenges changed the way their state looks at modernization. Over half struggle to find employees with required modern skill sets, so look at more contractors and/or managed services.


Fifty percent of the states established a governance framework around their modernization efforts, while 31% are working on one.

“The results illustrate perfectly that state government understands IT modernization is not a “once and done” activity. As soon as the current legacy items are addressed, new ones will take their place in the priority list. What is most surprising is the multitude of differing issues, as well as priorities and strategies, being utilized by government to address their specific IT modernization challenges.”

Research Committee Chair Victoria Wallis, strategic project manager for the Iowa Communications Network

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