Navigating IT in 2024 and Beyond: SDI’s CEO on NASCIO’s State CIO Top Policy and Technology Priorities 

By Hardik Bhatt, Chief Executive Officer

As a former state CIO and now the CEO of a private-equity-backed IT consultancy and managed services firm, I know it is imperative to stay at the forefront of technology trends and policy. Recently, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) unveiled its State CIO Top Ten Policy and Technology Priorities, identifying top issues facing government. In the past, I was fortunate to contribute to these surveys as the CIO of the State of Illinois. My top ten priorities have changed very little since I left the CIO role in late 2017. However, the ranking of priorities has changed. Let’s review these priorities through a series of blogs —exploring how aligning with them can be a win-win-win for constituents, governments, and vendor partners. 

Let us start with the top two. This year, NASCIO has two number ones on their top ten list—Cybersecurity / Risk Management and Digital Government / Digital Services. Let’s assess the thinking behind that. 

Governments (and most large and complex organizations) have been developing technology-based services for a few decades now. As newer and better technologies arrive, the older technologies, which were the best-in-the-class in the past, become technical debt. Government technology leaders are always under pressure to use newer technologies for better services that can be delivered faster and cheaper. That leads to continuous investment in newer technologies without taking a comprehensive look at how to eliminate technical debt. That technical debt then not only creates poorer digital services, but also increases cybersecurity risks. That’s why it is so important that government technology leaders address cybersecurity risks while improving digital services—thus making them top priorities for 2024. In most instances, strategic modernization addresses both at once—that’s how we approached it at the State of Illinois between 2015 and 2018. We implemented enterprise technologies that allowed us to eliminate hundreds of older systems that posed cybersecurity risks. 

With Generative AI technology, combined with modern networking, mobile, cloud, and other modern technologies, rapid modernization becomes possible. For example, we work with our customers to modernize their legacy applications using English-to-runtime development, eliminating the need for any programming language—yes, no programming language required. This also allows us to reduce development time by 75%. An application that would take one (1) year to develop can be delivered in twelve (12) weeks. It also eliminates addition to any future technical debt, because all you need to know is English or any other standard speaking language. We recently delivered an application with an estimated effort of six weeks using traditional programming languages in two (2) days! It comes with pre-built security standards and can run on any private or public cloud. With this addressing Cybersecurity risks through modernization and providing better digital services, both priority number ones can be addressed very rapidly. 

With these kinds of advances, Government Technology leaders can now accelerate digital services, eliminate decades of technical debt, and make their organizations cyber-secure—all at once at a never-seen-before accelerated pace. 

Contact SDI to unlock the potential of rapid modernization, eliminate tech debt, and fortify your organization’s cybersecurity.