– EXECUTIVE SUMMARY –
This is the 10th year that the Public Technology Institute (PTI) has conducted the State of City and County IT National Survey. Every year, including 2023, cybersecurity/data loss prevention has ranked as the number one priority for local government IT executives. This is no surprise because of the number of disparate IT systems in cities, counties, towns and villages and the fact that hostile actors perceive government IT systems as more vulnerable. While a record amount of federal funding has been made available, and more officials within all levels of government are refocusing their efforts on local cyber resiliency, much more needs to be done to secure our IT infrastructure.
Following cybersecurity on the list of IT executive priorities are modernizing outdated IT systems and applications, and innovation/applying technology in new ways to help
solve problems. Fourth on the list is IT workforce retention/attraction. Questions about IT workforce issues were added to or amended on this year’s survey.
Due to the impact of the COVID pandemic and the shift of how work is, or can be, done (remote versus at a facility), competition with the private sector for IT talent, in combination with an increase in retirements and resignations, means many local governments are struggling to retain current staff and fill vacant positions.
Relating to the IT workforce: When asked to identify the top priorities in terms of boosting the skills of existing staff and/or addressing skills gaps via hiring, cybersecurity was cited as the top priority, followed by soft skills/professional skills (up from the number four priority in 2022). Infrastructure skills and data skills rounded out the top four.
When it comes to budgeting for IT, 53% of IT executives expect an increase of 5% or more with their next fiscal budget. This is a significant increase from the 2022 (33%) and 2021 (17%) survey results.
The relationship between the local government IT executive and the state CIO has the need (and hopefully, priority) for continued improvement, with only 12% of local government executives stating that their jurisdiction’s relationship with the state CIO is excellent, while 27% share that the relationship is good but limited. However, 52% of local government IT executives share that their relationship is non-existent.
It is difficult to believe that this is the 10th year that CompTIA Public Technology Institute (PTI) has conducted the State of City and County IT National Survey. We created the survey to provide a snapshot of the IT management and operational priorities of America’s cities and counties. For readers of past survey reports, you will see that we refreshed the 2023 survey, eliminating some questions while adding or refreshing questions around topics that we are witnessing as growing in importance to the local government IT community.
As the leadership and membership of CompTIA PTI constantly advocate, we have a need, indeed a duty, to raise the profile of the IT “function” with our elected leaders and management and move from the concept of IT as service provider to IT as a strategic business partner.
The role of IT executives has evolved over the years from a traditional managerial position to one of applied leadership where the focus has shifted to citizen satisfaction and user experience, while playing a more proactive role in government operations across all departmental functions.
I often refer to the IT executive as a firefighter, constantly on call, responding to emergencies that have a direct impact on how we serve the public. In addition to putting out fires, IT executives are managing increasingly expanding and complex portfolios, a changing IT workforce and expectations of elected leaders, management and the community.
As you review the following survey analysis, I hope you will note how the findings compare with your IT organization’s priorities and needs.
Dr. Alan Shark
Executive Director, Public Technology Institute (PTI)