September 13, 2022

State government application modernization under stress

Application modernization

2022 State CIO Application Modernization Report

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) conducted a study during 2022 on the topic of state government application modernization. The study included an online survey and individual interviews of state CIOs. A webinar on the survey explores the results of the study and showcases the challenges to application modernization. CIOs, such as State CIO of Nebraska Ed Toner and State CIO of Vermont John Quinn, offer their recommendations for states to move forward with application modernization efforts.

Learn best practices and strategies from these CIO’s, as they tackle pressing questions, such as: How do you get agencies to think digitally? How do you approach large legacy systems?

Why modernize applications now?

According to the NASCIO survey, modernization now ranks “top of mind” for state CIOs for several reasons. COVID revealed the weaknesses in legacy systems to meet consumer demand. Manual service delivery models failed to work to offer people assistance. And consumers now demand modern digital services.  Along with these demands, the federal funds available to states create opportunities for states to modernize their applications.

What are the top drivers for modernizing applications?

According to the NASCIO survey, the following ranked highest for the reasons driving modernization:

  • Older, risky code
  • Do not meet business need
  • Action prioritized by agency
  • Cybersecurity risk
  • Technical debt
  • Citizen services

Top challenges for application modernization initiatives

The NASCIO survey found that 10 or more survey respondents experienced the following challenges:

  • Dedicated staff time
  • Funding
  • Large legacy systems
  • Significant business process redesign
  • Agency resistance to change
  • Lack of enterprise insight
  • Procurement
  • Technical know how
  • Shadow IT
  • Maintaining current enterprise architecture
  • Cybersecurity


The NASCIO webinar listed the following recommendations:

  • Implement Enterprise Application Portfolio
  • Engage Executive Governance Over Investment
  • Orchestrate Business Relationship Management
  • Upskill Staff To Retain


“We hire the people—not for a particular position,” said Ed Toner. “We just bring them in and then we find the right fit for that individual.”

For more recommendations, along with additional survey results, watch State Government Application Modernization is Under Stress. Or preview the PowerPoint slides for the presentation.


Learn more

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