Feb 26 2019

Government CIOs Aim to Invest More in AI, Analytics

According to Gartner research, cloud is no longer the top tech priority for government IT leaders.

Data analytics tools can help state and local government agencies with everything from tracking overtime to adjusting traffic lights to improve the flow of rush hour traffic.

Increasingly, it seems clear that government CIOs see the importance of data analytics. That is borne out in recent research from Gartner, which found that artificial intelligence has taken the lead as the top game-changing technology for government CIOs for 2019. AI (27 percent) was followed closely by data analytics (22 percent) and then cloud technologies (19 percent). Cloud dropped from first across all levels of government last year to third overall in this year’s survey, according to Gartner. 

Taking advantage of data is at the heart of digital government — it’s the central asset to all that government oversees and provides,” says Rick Howard, a research vice president at Gartner. “The ability to leverage that data strategically in real time will significantly improve government’s ability to seamlessly deliver services, despite increased strain on finite resources.”

Gartner’s 2019 CIO Agenda Survey gathered data from 3,102 CIO respondents in 89 countries and across major industries, including 528 government CIOs. Government respondents are segmented into national or federal, state or province (regional), local, and defense and intelligence in order to identify trends specific to each tier.

Howard tells StateScoop that government CIOs are increasingly turning to high-level data analytics tools and that “those who are not managing data well and treating it as a valuable asset are going to fall behind.”

MORE FROM STATETECH: Find out how the New Orleans Fire Department uses data to save lives. 

Analytics Tops the List of 2019 IT Investments

Among all levels of government, business intelligence and data analytics (43 percent), cyber/information security (43 percent) and cloud services/solutions (39 percent) are the most common technology areas for increased technology investment in 2019. Cloud dropped from first place last year to second overall for 2019, Gartner reports. 

State and local agencies can use analytics platforms from vendors such as Microsoft, IBM, Splunk and BMC to sift through data, detect patterns and make predictions about behaviors of residents or technology functions. That, in turn, can make services more efficient or better targeted. 

“We really can do a better job anticipating your needs or responding more quickly to that changing environment through the use of analytics and through the use of AI,” Howard tells StateScoop. 


In terms of AI, among government respondents, the Gartner survey found 10 percent have already deployed an AI solution, 39 percent intend to deploy one in the next one to two years, and 36 percent intend to deploy an AI solution within the next two to three years.

“Government CIOs clearly recognize the potential of digital government and have started developing new digital services, but now need to take digital beyond a vision to execution through digital leadership,” Howard says. 

Despite the focus on digital, just 17 percent of government CIOs plan to increase their investment in digital business initiatives, compared with 34 percent of CIOs in other industries, according to Gartner. While government CIOs demonstrate clear vision in the potential for digital government and its emerging technologies, 45 percent report they lack the IT and business resources required to execute.

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