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A States


2020 Grade: A

2018 Grade: A

CIO: Calvin Rhodes

Before and during the pandemic, Georgia has been making some big strides in modernizing its technology infrastructure and deploying new services to make state workers more efficient and offer more self-serve options to its growing population. At the core of that work is GovHub, Georgia’s new website and digital services platform, which it rolled out in April 2019. Using the platform, along with tools for monitoring accessibility issues and other pitfalls, the state has embarked on a project to migrate websites to a new content management system while improving security. Meanwhile, the state has engaged helpful new communications channels to help citizens, including chatbots that helped people answer questions during the pandemic and digital assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant. New digital services include a school bus safety monitoring system that makes problems with buses and drivers more visible through automation of formerly manual processes; a new statistics dashboard for prison management that auto-generates text and email alerts to staff when critical incidents occur; and new additions to an app for early childhood care that allows providers to pay fees and report information from mobile devices. Many of those services, including the early childhood care app, feed data to websites that help citizens answer their own questions, such as which child-care facilities remained open during the pandemic. 

The state has also been making progress on cybersecurity, supporting a new initiative to train all executive branch workers, a new managed security services contract that includes a variety of technological upgrade options, and the implementation of an active directory system for applying policy based on the user rather than the network. Ongoing research and training work at the state’s nationally prominent Cyber Center included a three-day exercise in 2019 with several partners, including the country of Georgia. 


2020 Grade: A

2018 Grade: A

CIO: Brom Stibitz

Michigan is once again a top achiever in the Digital States Survey, and there are some commonalities as well between its strong performance two years ago and what it has accomplished now. Namely, in 2018 Michigan had added a new Office of Performance Transformation to do exactly what the name implies; now, the state has added an Office of Continuous Improvement. Part of what the latter has done is work to ensure that a lean process improvement methodology is applied prior to any investment in new IT work, thereby helping all IT work to net positive results. This is perhaps an extension of a previous move the state made to combine its tech department with that of management and budget to ensure efficiency.   

But it’s not all about the money in Michigan — it’s also about data. The state has now required all agencies to have a chief data steward, a dedicated staffer that supports the implementation of data classification within each office. This, it should be noted, even extends to email communications, which is a rarity and should be commended. Taking that work a step further was the implementation of enterprise-wide master data management aimed at creating a share-first culture. Finally, the state also built an enterprise-wide analytics center.   

Finally, Michigan is one of the states leading the way when it comes to applying human-centered design principals to outward-facing tech products. The list of new customer-centric work in Michigan with online components includes a Customer and Automotive Records System, a mobile app for communicating directly with the state police commissioner, and the automated selling of hunting and fishing licenses.


2020 Grade: A

2018 Grade: A

CIO: Jeff Wann

Over the past couple years, Missouri led several internal and citizen-facing projects to make both its staff and services more effective. Since it was formed in May 2018, the state’s Cabinet IT Governance  Council (CITGC) has become a forum for collective decision-making on IT projects, focusing departments on specific goals in line with the governor’s priorities and reviewing IT projects above $500,000 to assess their benefit to citizens. Over past two years, the CITGC has created statewide strategies for ERP planning, cloud, chatbots, citizen experience, data governance and call center transformation. Also prioritizing workforce education, the Information Technology Services Division had employees train for two hours per week on tools such as Pluralsight, and it set up onboarding and professional development programs to boost staff retention and skills. 

Citizen engagement and education have also been priorities for Missouri. The Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development launched an online platform to help students navigate the path to college, from financial aid information to school and major selection. In 2019, the state launched a slew of projects aimed at efficiency and cost savings: an application to simplify the transfer of surplus property from one state agency to another, which saved more than $242,000 in new equipment purchases; a portal for citizens to pay driver’s license reinstatement fees online; a contract with Accenture for a chatbot to answer citizen questions about taxes, motor vehicles and driver’s licenses; and a crash-mapping tool to help assess which highways need work, to name a few. 

In the interest of public health, Missouri worked with the state highway patrol and the Department of Social Services on a website for anonymous tips to prevent mass shootings and other violence at school. It also implemented a new Medicaid payment system for behavioral health services that led to a 20 percent increase in the number of people receiving those services, and an 83 percent increase in the number of people receiving medication for substance-use disorders. The MO HealthNet Division, which administers the state’s Medicaid program, reduced opioid use across the state with data analytics to monitor use and inform decisions by Medicaid partners on granting prescriptions to residents. Data dashboards in general have become more popular in Missouri since its Department of Conservation used Tableau to visualize data and better understand the impact of state programs, so staff would know what to address.


2020 Grade: A 

2018 Grade: A

CIO: Ervan Rogers 

Over the last two years, Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and CIO Ervan Rodgers have been quite busy with technological solutions in Ohio. Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment is the deliberate integration of citizen services, data governance and data transparency through the InnovateOhio Platform (IOP), which was established by executive order in 2019. The vision behind IOP is all-encompassing: Without losing ownership of their information, agencies are required to share data for use case projects, citizen-centric services and better decision-making. The platform also has single sign-on capability for both staff and citizens. By summer 2020, 500 data sets had been uploaded, eight data and analytics projects had been completed, 46 citizen-focused websites had been released, and 154 applications had been integrated. Additionally, all state agencies have migrated their systems to the cloud as part of the IOP initiative.   

The IOP team also played a huge role in the state’s coronavirus response, launching a COVID-19 information site on March 5. Then in April, the team, along with the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, rolled out COVID-19 Job Search. This site helps essential businesses connect with individuals who are willing to perform essential jobs during the pandemic. Roughly 200,000 employers and job seekers have utilized this site.    

Ohio has also recently leveraged technology to take aim at some of its most pressing social problems. With one of the highest opioid use rates in the country, the state has embarked on a multiagency data analysis project to identify factors that can predict opioid abuse and evaluate the effectiveness of different treatments for addiction. And in addition to being a hotbed for autonomous and connected vehicle testing, Ohio has installed virtual driver assessment tools at driver examination sites and driving schools as part of a response to the high number of teenagers and young adults who die in car crashes in the state. Through nonidentifiable driver data, this project will evolve its curriculum based on the outcomes of those who take the virtual training.   


2020 Grade: A

2018 Grade: A

CIO: Mike Hussey

Without fail, Utah ranks at the top of the list of states with practices others should consider adopting. With solid governance in place, backed by structural investments in innovative technologies and business practices, Utah proves a consistent commitment to data-driven service delivery and practical experimentation.

Zeroing in on a few notable efforts, the state developed a new engagement model in 2019 that clearly outlines how technology staff will work with agency customers, offering a clear path to consistent evaluation and improvement. As for its core infrastructure, Utah will continue to look to as-a-service technologies to help absorb budget reductions and take advantage of the cloud’s ability to scale according to changing needs. The state notes recent increases in its use of infrastructure-as-a-service offerings from AWS and Google, with direct network connections that include full redundancy to both.

Utah is leading the way in its development of a single sign-on central identity platform, streamlining the citizen experience across nearly a thousand applications and services. UtahID uses the OpenID standard, and multifactor authentication was added this year to maximize security. All 26 state agencies use UtahID both internally and externally, as does the statewide Business Portal. In addition, the next iteration of the state website (Utah’s Next Generation Portal) will leverage UtahID.

A timely telework initiative launched in September 2018 piloted working from home a full year and a half before the pandemic hit. More than 130 employees from four agencies worked remotely three days a week while the state tracked their performance and other metrics, noting productivity gains and other benefits. The experiment created temporary shared workspaces aimed at being more efficient with government office space and led to investments in virtual capabilities that prepared the workforce well for its eventual shift to 70 percent work-from-home this past March.  

The state also leads in its use of emerging technologies, creating a center for excellence focused on AI in 2019. The work is bolstered by an innovation fund, which allows for investments in vetted technologies that offer a proven return on investment. In one of many examples, the state is using drones to better evaluate avalanche risk and to collect more lidar data at a lower cost than previous methods.  

A- States


2020 Grade: A- 

2018 Grade: B

CIO: J.R. Sloan

Arizona has upped its score since the last Digital States Survey, garnering an A- this year. Big, bulky servers, and other on-premise equipment in Arizona state government is gradually disappearing as more of the state’s IT infrastructure migrates to the cloud. This includes the closure of data centers, server rooms and more. Statewide cloud spending reached $40 million as part of the Statewide Cloud First program. The state also consolidated some 75 agency data centers to a managed Shared Hosted Data Center (SHDC) in August 2019 following the collapse of the roof of the state data center, prompting its demolition and the movement of 1,076 devices to the cloud, resulting in millions of dollars in savings.   

IT security stepped up when the Arizona Department of Administration/Arizona Strategic Enterprise Technology Office (ADOA-ASET) security team reviewed the current technology around the Web Application Firewall (WAF) — a critical enterprise security tool — and reviewed new technologies and vendor demonstrations, which led to a new solution being launched in January 2020. Cybersecurity funding in the state has increased 150 percent, with a continued focus on maintenance of programs.   

Some of the citizen-centered improvements include the Arizona Lottery’s new website in February 2019. Launching alongside the newly designed website was a new Lottery Players Club app, which has been downloaded by more than 171,000 devices, and remote kiosks. The kiosks have led to more than $20 million in increased revenue. The lottery reached $1 billion in sales, a record. Also, with the help of the Enterprise Security Program Advisory Council (ESPAC), the lottery expanded its statewide security funding 150 percent. The lottery also launched Qlik in 2019, a “far-reaching data tracking system,” making it easier for lottery staff to analyze sales or develop new games.   

Professional licensing is now easier thanks to a new e-licensing platform that allows any citizen who possesses a license to work, or those who have the qualifications to apply for a new license or renewal online. The Arizona Department of Health Services partnered with Salesforce to develop a digital medical marijuana system, allowing for the digital issuance of Arizona medical marijuana cards in December 2019, streamlining the processing and renewing of the documents.    


2020 Grade: A- 

2018 Grade: A- 

CIO: Amy Tong

Under Gov. Gavin Newsom, sworn in January 2019, and CIO Amy Tong, whom Newsom reappointed in April 2020, the state has steadily implemented technological, innovation, policy and process improvements. Via Executive Order, state agencies developed the flexible, iterative Innovation Procurement Sprint and wielded Requests for Innovative Ideas (RFI2) to obtain leading-edge solutions without traditional RFPs. As a result, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection contracted with vendor Technosylva on a cloud-based subscription product to help firefighters predict the path of a wildfire. The Department of Motor Vehicles now accepts credit cards, has implemented the Virtual Field Office in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, stood up an Online Service Portal, added a chatbot and live chat, and deployed an upgraded identity management system. The department has also held two DMV Vendor Days to seek new solutions. In July 2019, Newsom established the Office of Digital Innovation in the Government Operations Agency to reimagine and redesign digital services and information; it has since hired its first director. The alpha team of technologists from several agencies worked three months on alpha.ca.gov, a reimagining of ca.gov. The team then partnered with state technology and health and human services agencies on the state’s official coronavirus response website. The CA COVID Assessment Tool released in July offers current COVID-19 data and future models. 

In October 2018, officials stood up a Web portal to be the main public information source on services and status of emerging and emergency efforts, response.ca.gov. Building on the success of 2015’s California Cyber Security Integration Center and 2017’s Security Operations Center, officials at the latter assembled a cybersecurity incident response team last year. To stave off funding loss, the California Department of Technology is partnering with states including Alaska, Washington and Oregon, achieving up to $4 million in savings.


2020 Grade: A-

2018 Grade: A-

CIO: Tracy Barnes

The Indiana Office of Technology (IOT) continues to excel in a number of areas, including data-driven governance and data transparency. The state’s data agency, the Management Performance Hub, publicly launched its Indiana Data Partnership Portal in May, allowing for multi-sector collaboration between nonprofits, the private sector and government on data-driven initiatives. Those initiatives have lately focused on a number of vital issues — namely COVID-19, the opioid epidemic, and education and workforce development.       

In the area of cybersecurity, Indiana has also made a lot of progress over the past two years. In 2019, IOT centralized its cyber-resources by launching its Information Security Office as a Service (ISOaaS) program, a hub to help agencies shore up their defenses. The ISOaaS helps agencies with a wide range of security-related issues, including assessing agency maturity, defining security strategy and identifying gaps in mission objectives, as well as developing action plans to address said gaps. 

At the same time, an ongoing cybersecurity program developed by the Department of Education has continued to leverage federal funds from the Department of Homeland Security to improve security for K-12 schools throughout the state. This is an especially valuable program considering the ongoing onslaught that schools have faced from hackers since the pandemic began. Indiana has also continued to develop a cybersecurity ecosystem through public-private partnerships involving higher education entities, such as Indiana University and Purdue University. 


2020 Grade: A- 

2018 Grade: A- 

CIO: Tarek Tomes 

When the coronavirus pandemic forced the majority of Minnesota’s workforce to transition to telework in early March, Minnesota IT Services (MNIT) went into overdrive to respond. The agency facilitated rapid deployment and training for remote work tools such as video conferencing platforms — by April 17, 3,064 individuals had been trained on the Microsoft Teams, Webex and Intercall platforms. Meanwhile, MNIT’s procurement division stepped up to the plate in order to meet the demands of a remote workforce, purchasing an unprecedented volume of hardware, software and contracts in a short period of time. In one case, they were able to increase user capacity on a Virtual Private Network (VPN) from 10,000 users to 30,000 users in just one weekend by purchasing hardware from local resellers and then setting up temporary licenses. 

In the last two years, Minnesota launched a number of efforts to improve citizen engagement with the state government. When the coronavirus pandemic struck, the state quickly realized that it needed a way to get information out to residents, and fast. So, it rapidly stood up two websites that put all the data it was releasing on the pandemic (governor’s daily briefings and executive orders, citizen FAQs, etc.) into a single location where constituents could access it at any time. These websites are updated daily and have a chatbot function powered by IBM so visitors can ask questions. 

COVID-19 was not the only thing that Minnesota had information to share with constituents about in the last two years. MNIT partnered with a slew of state agencies in order to develop a standardized set of guidelines for developing accessible digital maps. The results, published online in October 2019, have been widely adopted by state agencies and vendors, and webpages where they have been adopted have seen a corresponding increase in traffic. 

New York

2020 Grade: A-

2018 Grade: A-

CIO: Jeremy Goldberg (interim)

The past year has been a period of transition for IT leadership in New York state, with chief information officer Bob Samson stepping down in mid-August 2019 after two years in the role. Samson was replaced in an interim capacity by Joseph Rabito for a period of three months, only to be replaced by Jeremy Goldberg, who also serves the state in an interim capacity. A veteran of local government IT work, Goldberg worked as deputy CIO in New York City, and was instrumental in launching the Startup in Residence program in San Francisco years earlier.   

In addition to the consolidation work the state has undergone over the past several years, which involved a substantial migration to the cloud, policymakers have made significant investments in expanding connectivity options throughout the state. Gov. Cuomo also convened a task force to help address spotty cellular coverage in rural areas upstate last year, pointing to a direct link between substandard coverage and economic opportunity in the region.   

A larger all-hands-on-deck approach is evident in the state’s response to COVID-19, which constituted a major effort from the state’s technology team. Early in the virus outbreak, the state put out the call for people and services to help in response, resulting in 7,300 volunteers from 3,500 organizations banding together on tech solutions like informational websites, technical training for state employees and screening applications. The Office of Information Technology Services reported that the massive public-private partnership led to tens of millions of digital interactions between the state and its citizens, supported by approximately 25,000 volunteer hours.

North Carolina 

2020 Grade: A-

2018 Grade: B

CIO: Thomas Parrish (acting)

North Carolina’s strong showing in this year’s Digital States Survey comes from investment in foundational technologies that are largely aligned with executive leadership priorities. The state operates as a relatively federated model, but IT works to bridge any gaps among agencies. The Information Technology Strategy Board, established in 2019 and chaired by the state CIO, comprises members from government, academia and the private sector. The board helps the Department of Information Technology (DIT) coordinate between state agencies and other organizations to guide large technology projects.

To better serve all North Carolinians, the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grants program is an effort to get broadband to 40 underserved communities in the state, and the Broadband Committee is working with the General Assembly to utilize emerging technologies like low-orbit satellites to improve connectivity in the western part of the state. A similar initiative, thanks to a 2019 grant, is intended to expand broadband to improve telehealth services in conjunction with the Office of Rural Health. Since that program was in place before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolina was already well-situated to get online medical services to citizens. To improve service delivery to all North Carolinians, DIT established a Digital Governance Committee that prioritizes user experience in tech deployments, and the state takes an “omni-channel” approach to developing tools so that services can be accessed anytime, anywhere, from any device.  

Other forward-thinking initiatives include the rollout of a digital wallet to allow online payment for DMV services that will be expanding to other agencies. Drones are also used in environmental data collection and mapping, which has reduced pollutants and increased acreage covered in a day by 5,900 percent versus traditional methods. Because DIT had the foresight to pilot Microsoft Teams in limited use in October 2019 and January 2020, to just 7,000 users, they were able to make a smooth transition to remote work due to COVID-19, increasing to 23,000 users by June.

North Dakota 

2020 Grade: A-

2018 Grade: A-

CIO: Shawn Riley

Under the leadership of Gov. Doug Burgum, North Dakota has maintained its A- grade since 2018, even amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. Burgum, a former tech executive, has said himself that he sees North Dakota as an up and coming rival to Silicon Valley, with major players like Microsoft and Amazon putting down roots in the state. This year, Burgum was also named as one of Government Technology’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers, so it should come as no surprise that the state is on the right path when it comes to citizen-focused IT.   

The state’s adherence to IT best practices in several key areas make it a solid model for other states. Under the leadership of CIO Shawn Riley, the North Dakota Information Technology (NDIT) department has honed it’s focus on innovative service delivery under the constraints of limited resources. In addition to centralizing its cybersecurity efforts across the state, NDIT has worked toward a shared services model that benefits not only state agencies, but also local government entities, as well as courts and educational institutions. Amid the pandemic, NDIT has played a central role in developing analytical resources to support response and recovery efforts. This included the integration of a contact tracing app and other tools with existing systems where process automation could streamline response. Where data governance is concerned, North Dakota has made substantial strides with its formal State Longitudinal Data System governance model, completed in June 2020. The model outlined data privacy and ethical uses for data and addressed long-standing policy gaps.        

A “whole of government” and enterprise approach to cybersecurity — and other IT areas — has been a cornerstone in the state’s defensive strategy. The passage of Senate Bill 2110 into law in April 2019 established a framework for strategic guidance and standardization of cybersecurity across all state agencies. Prior to the passage of SB2110, roughly 400 state and local agencies were operating autonomously with varying degrees of cybersophistication. During the COVID-19 pandemic, IT staff managed to successfully transition around 7,000 state employees to secure off-site locations. In the months since the pandemic upended normal life, the state is reportedly re-evaluating its need for leased office space in the capital city of Bismarck with an eye toward significant savings.    


2020 Grade: A-

2018 Grade: B

CIO: John Hoffman (interim) 

Responding quickly to urgent situations has become something of a regular thing for Texas’ state IT workers. In August 2019, more than 20 local governments were targeted in a coordinated ransomware attack that took the security community by surprise. The state Department of Information Resources (DIR) jumped into action, putting its incident response plan into practice and heading out to the affected places to help assess the damage and begin eliminating the malware. Within a week, they had cleared all of them for remediation and recovery. 

Three months later, a chemical plant exploded in Port Neches, forcing evacuations in the area. In a time when quick, accurate information was critical, the state set up a “story map” linked with data from a variety of sources in order to inform the public, including aerial photos, maps, and real-time air and water quality data in the nearby neighborhoods. 

Four months after that, COVID-19 hit. DIR quickly doubled connection capacity to the enterprise network, optimized apps for increased demand, increased processing power and helped set up tools to support telework. It also launched a website to help share PPE and gather volunteers and donations, and another to help essential workers find childcare.

When it hasn’t been responding to emergencies, DIR has made many other accomplishments, setting up digital services for hurricane aid, construction project registration and IT staff augmentation bids. Cybersecurity’s been another bright spot. In March the state launched the Texas Information Sharing and Analysis Organization to share threat information between participating entities. For two years, Texas has been working with AT&T and the Secretary of State to assess and improve election security in all 254 of the state’s counties. And a new cybersecurity training certification program has led to more than 3,000 state and local government entities training every one of their employees. 


2020 Grade: A-

2018 Grade: A-

CIO: Nelson Moe

Virginia has been a fully consolidated state for some time, with all agencies there getting IT infrastructure from the central authority, the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA). Now, VITA has also moved from a lone provider for its infrastructure services to a multi-supplier model, making it just one of three states in the country to have done so. This has allowed the state a greater degree of flexibility with new technologies, as well as more competition and an increase in partnerships. This multi-supplier model was especially useful earlier this year when the governor declared a state of emergency during the pandemic, which necessitated roughly 55,000 state employees to work from home. Virgina’s CISO was able to build a command center that used the multi-supplier model to rapidly build an embedded framework for cyber.

Virginia also had a bit of fortunate timing as it related to the pandemic. In early 2020, it rolled out a new state portal website on virginia.gov. The site was built with input from analytics and from user feedback being put to use for meaningful changes. That site was quickly put to the test with the onset of the pandemic, serving as a central online location for residents to get vital information from their state government during the crisis. Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles also migrated many of its services online, accomplishing the rare feat of offering a fee reduction for online users that was put into law.


2020 Grade: A-

2018 Grade: A-

CIO: Jim Weaver

Identifying technology solutions that work for a number of programs, rather than individual agencies, is one of the top goals for the Washington Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), along with improving data privacy and security, and developing protections to preserve net neutrality. The state invested more than $1.7 billion in IT during fiscal year 2019. 

In other areas, the state’s threat intelligence is monitored through the Washington Cyber Intelligence Exchange, made up of more than 90 representatives from cities, counties, schools, state agencies and colleges looking for suspicious activity, or trends that could be missed in an effort to make more informed decisions about cyber threats. The Department of Licensing rolled out a $63.2 million upgrade to eliminate an antiquated system with commercial off-the-self software to provide an integrated system with new efficiencies, reliability and security.

However, the IT solutions that are the most public-facing tend to have the largest impact on how residents engage with the state. Washington’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave program allows most workers in the state up to 12 weeks of paid time off following the birth of a child, a serious health condition for the worker or certain close family members, and some forms of military service. The program, one of the most generous in the United States, is being administered by the Employee Security Department (ESD) in collaboration with OCIO. More than 30,000 applications were filed in the first six weeks of launching.   

Another public-facing technology improvement includes the revamped eComments application for the Department of Ecology, allowing the state to more efficiently manage the more than 400 public comment sessions every year. The new system makes it easier for residents to file comments, and easier for staff to sort and manage them. Open government and ensuring the public has access to state data are facilitated through the IT Project Dashboard, where the public and agencies can access information about state projects approved by OCIO. 


2020 Grade: A-

2018 Grade: A-

CIO: Trina Zanow

Earlier this year, Wisconsin found that some of the technology services it had recently implemented were quite helpful when the state was suddenly called upon to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Among them was the Department of Corrections’ new Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solution, which had been rolled out to 39 sites across the state. The department found the EMR to be very helpful in tracking COVID-19 cases among its facilities and in sharing that information with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Wisconsin also found that its new MyACCESS mobile app for benefit services was helpful in eliminating the need for citizens to visit state offices in person. The app, launched last year, allows citizens to remotely manage their access to state benefits, including Medicaid, SNAP, TANF/W-2 and childcare. 

Wisconsin focused on improving data transparency in the last two years, releasing a number of improvements to its public-facing financial transparency site OpenBook Wisconsin. In addition to expenditure data, the site now provides data on the state’s spending on contracts, payroll and procurement. The data is reviewed biweekly to make sure it is correct and up to date.   

Wisconsin also moved to improve its internal services, consolidating some of the state’s IT network shared services from multiple agencies under a standardized Secured Network Services model. This eliminated agency-specific networks and gave the state the opportunity to modernize much of its network equipment, reducing costs and resources. An estimated one-third of network components in state facilities were no longer needed and removed entirely as a result.

Government Technology is a sister site to Governing. Both are divisions of e.Republic.