CIO-as-broker model more secure, cost-effective, says Indiana CIO

Of all the chief information officers who could weigh in on where the CIO role is headed in state government, few are better equipped than Indiana CIO Dewand Neely. Neely, who has spent 15 years with the state government and worked with the National Association of State Chief Information Officers developing publications on just that topic, tells StateScoop in a recent video interview that although more state technology business is now being conducted by vendors outside of government offices, the work of managing those vendors is an expanding and critical task.

“I think it really moves as solutions and niche solutions continue to mature,” Neely tells StateScoop in a video interview at NASCIO’s annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, last month. “Things we’re doing today we may not necessarily do tomorrow, just because they’ll be provided in a more secure, more cost-effective manner.”

Survey data from NASCIO shows that more state technology offices are outsourcing more functions, shutting down their own data centers and transitioning into cloud-based services. This has left the state CIO with more of what NASCIO calls the “broker” role, serving as a central coordinator and relationship manager for the many services it provides to customer agencies through third parties. 

In NASCIO’s 2015 annual survey, 85 percent of state CIOs said they see themselves evolving as brokers of IT services and the trend has steadily continued since. While many state CIOs have not finished the work of reconfiguring their organizations around a “CIO as a broker” model, that is clearly the direction they’re headed.

As of April 2018, 64 percent of NASCIO survey respondents said they were looking ahead to adopting this model, 20 percent said they anticipated that will be the predominant model and 16 percent said they’ve already implemented the model.

“As we continue to offload [those services, we’re] changing our role to be more of that broker for our agencies, for our customers, making sure we get the right vendors in, making sure we’re managing them to their [service level agreements] and making sure they’re delivering acceptable service and secure service, and then helping them get close to the business to understand what they’re driving for and getting them pushed to the right solutions, which may not be in our house, but we’re making those relationships, creating the capabilities to bring in these niche services and meet that need,” Neely says.

In May, NASCIO published a report outlining how CIOs seeking to adopt a CIO-as-broker model can do so, noting 11 methods, such as listening to others, sharing their own stories and focusing on the citizen.

In Indiana, though, transforming the state’s service delivery model will have to be done by someone else. Neely has announced that he will step down on Friday, to take a position with Eleven Fifty Academy, an Indiana-based nonprofit group that trains and places people in technical careers.

Neely on his top priorities and projects:

“We’re trying to figure out what is the state’s role [with cybersecurity] as more local governments and municipalities are starting to be affected.”

Neely on workforce:

“I think over the past year, we’ve taken a step back and said let’s really just go after this next generation. Let’s go after the juniors and seniors in high school, the folks that are just starting out in college.”

Neely on identity and access management:

“I think we need to take a step back and see if the identity or credential is going to be our new perimeter now, our new firewall kind of border.”

These videos were produced by StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in October 2019.