Oct 09 2020

NASCIO 2020: Annual Conference to Address IT Priorities in the Pandemic

Panels and sessions examine challenges and opportunities ranging from working from home to cybersecurity under the specter of COVID-19.

After a successful online midyear meeting, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers will again gather virtually for the NASCIO 2020 Annual Conference Oct. 12 to 15, addressing daily themes of leadership, IT modernization, cybersecurity and innovation.

Each day, panels and sessions dive into topics connected to the theme of the day, in addition to other important issues for state CIOs, explains Emily Lane, NASCIO program and brand director. While assessing leadership challenges on the first day, for example, NASCIO sessions explore issues related to managing remote work, a new way of doing business that has evolved since the pandemic shuttered many state offices in mid-March.

“None of these discussions are specific to the pandemic, but there will always be a layer of that in the conversation, because that’s just what we’re all working through,” Lane says.

She adds, “Speakers will talk about connecting remote teams. And that is really how your internal team is staying connected in a number of different ways. That might be the technology you’re using, just like we are, but also the culture. How to ensure that people feel connected with one another because the personal side is important to supporting effective teams. There also will be a session on leading remote teams, and that’s a little more focused on the CIO’s perspective.”

NASCIO speakers also will discuss working with clients remotely and strengthening working relationships with IT stakeholders.

Conference Programming Addresses CIO Priorities

On the second day, the annual conference dives into IT modernization, including priorities related to supporting digital government. Sessions will address expanding broadband, adopting cloud and bolstering digital services, among other topics.

NASCIO 2020 will tackle cybersecurity on its third day, presenting a panel on the eagerly anticipated annual NASCIO-Deloitte cybersecurity study. The study surveys the cybersecurity landscape across the country through feedback from state CISOs.

Meredith Ward, NASCIO director of policy and research, says, “This year, we had 51 responses — CISOs from all the states and one territory. Like the NASCIO CIO survey, the CISOs answered study questions right at the height of the pandemic, in May and June. So a lot of their responses were colored by the pandemic, but we also explore all the other issues that we normally would in the survey.”

The final day of the conference addresses questions of innovation and the future of technology. On that day, NASCIO experts will examine a new study on emergency technology governance, produced under a partnership with EY.

“This is focused on how CIOs really implement emerging tech in their state. What are the challenges? What are the success stories of people overcoming those challenges? What do you need to keep in mind if something’s been deployed at an agency level? How do you align emerging technology with the larger state plan and security requirements?” Lane says.

While NASCIO considers its virtual midyear conference to have been a success, state CIOs are eager to return to meeting physically once it is safe to do so, Ward says.

“The ultimate goal is for us to get back together in person as quickly as we can, where there’s space,” she says.

Check out more coverage from the NASCIO Annual 2020 conference, and follow us on Twitter at @StateTech, or the official conference Twitter account, @NASCIO,  and join the conversation using the hashtag #NASCIO20.


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