NASTD director: State tech chiefs press ahead on workforce and resource issues

State technology directors are putting greater emphasis on workforce and resource management issues as they execute their 2016 strategies, according to Mark McCord, the executive director of the National Association of State Technology Directors.

Several trends are driving that focus, including efforts to outsource information technology services, create newer policies and safeguards around mobility, and address how states onboard their IT workforce, McCord said in a StateScoop TV interview at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ midyear conference in May in Baltimore.

Limited budget environments are forcing state government officials to figure out how to innovate around the delivery of services and attract new workers to state IT offices, McCord said.

“Budgets are very tight and state government folks are being asked to do a lot more with a lot less,” McCord said. “The state government work environment is different than the corporate world, compensation doesn’t keep up with corporate compensation so you’ve got to be very innovative in the way you identify and onboard new talent.”

But one way McCord sees things changing among NASTD members is through an increasing amount of IT outsourcing. States are looking to contracts with the private sector to streamline and cut down operational costs of some services, including modernization and security.

“Several states including Georgia, Texas, and Virginia are really taking a look at kind of a new model, a new paradigm for bringing vendors onboard to manage various aspects of the technology stack,” McCord said.

States are also looking toward advances in mobility to attract the next generation of the state IT workforce, McCord said. Technology officials in state governments still struggle with the security challenges surrounding employees’ desire to use a personal device for government work.

“In an era of ‘bring your own device,’ everyone wants to bring their phone to work and that creates challenges for managing state IT and government,” McCord said.