NASCIO’s latest cloud survey finds rising adoption in states

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers published a report Tuesday finding that most state CIOs are developing strategies to optimize the cloud’s potential — more than 88% of respondents said their state’s agencies are expediting cloud adoption.

The new report, published in conjunction with the IT firm Accenture, is a follow-up to the organization’s first edition of the cloud survey, which was published in 2021. While the earlier report found that states were slow on the uptake of cloud computing services, this week’s report said 60% of state IT organizations have now incorporated the cloud into their operations.

The new NASCIO report, which used survey responses from 43 state CIOs in April 2023 — and a few in-depth CIO interviews — also proclaimed that cloud is no longer an emerging technology. Of the respondents, 30% said they have completed a cloud strategy or roadmap for their organization and the remaining 70% said they’re developing cloud strategies.

The report partially credited demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, which heightened demand for digital services and legacy modernization projects.

“We were one of those states that did not have a modern unemployment insurance system, and we were crippled under the volume during the pandemic,” one state CIO is quoted as saying in the report. “Had we been in the cloud, we would have been able to process claims and spin that down when we don’t need it. It would have been cost effective. That highlighted the benefits of the cloud to the legislature.”

Health and human service departments were found to be the leading cloud adopters. The report said many health departments have turned to cloud solutions to enhance customer service delivery, especially for benefits-claims processing and case management workloads. The report said other departments adopting the cloud include employment, transportation, workforce management and education departments.

Comparing findings with the 2021 report, NASCIO found more states are selecting vendors with security certifications. The report found that use of vendors with StateRAMP certification, a seal of approval modeled on the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, rose 19%. State adoption of vendors with FedRAMP certification decreased 7% since 2021.

“This report looks at progress that states have made in the past two years and recommendations for further progress,” NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson said in a news release. “It’s clear cloud services have become a critical component of the state CIO operational portfolio.”