Connecting state and local government leaders

Annual State CIO Survey Shows a Continued Shift Away From Mainframes

Michael Grass / Route Fifty


Connecting state and local government leaders

Cloud computing has made many state’s assess their legacy applications and systems.

AUSTIN, Texas — The release of the state CIO survey is always a highly anticipated moment during the annual National Association of State Chief Information Officers conference, which has been underway this week here in the capital of the Lone Star State.

Although the survey is anonymous, it does provide state government IT leaders an annual measuring stick to see where they stack up to their peers other states when it comes to industry trends, challenges and solutions.

While there’s a lot to unpack from this year’s survey—which is a collaborative effort by NASCIO, Grant Thornton LLP and CompTIA—among the insights that stood out related to state governments and mainframe computing systems.

In recent years, the shift to cloud computing has made many state’s assess their legacy applications and whether they need to maintain their own mainframes, which can be costly to maintain and upgrade but often generate revenue.

The survey asked state CIOs two related questions:

  • Does your organization have a strategy to migrate legacy applications to the cloud?
  • Are you planning to move to an off-premise Mainframe-as-a-Service solution in 2-3 years?
(via NASCIO)
(vai NASCIO)

According to the survey:

Provision of mainframe computing services to state agency customers has long been a staple of the state CIO function, and it is still a service provided by a large majority of state CIO organizations. Operating under a charge-back model to agency customers, mainframe services have historically been a major revenue source for state CIOs. However, as state CIO organizations migrate towards a service broker model and the demand for mainframe cycles decline, all CIO services are being re-assessed. Off-premise Mainframe-as-a-Service solutions have been available for several years. We asked CIOs whether they were planning to move to such a solution in the next 2-3 years. Perhaps surprisingly, over 50 percent of CIOs responded that they had either completed such a move or were considering it.

Indiana’s state CIO Dewand Neely said during a survey results panel discussion on Tuesday that his state only has three applications still on a mainframe and two of those are scheduled to migrate to a cloud solution by the end of next year.

The story is similar in Utah, though the timeframe is somewhat longer.

“We have two applications left on our mainframe and looking to move those in the next 4-5 years,” that state’s CIO, Mike Hussey, said during the panel discussion.

What’s one of the big the reasons not to move all applications off a mainframe computing system and into the cloud? As Hussey said, the lone system expected to remain on a mainframe is being kept cause as the state figured out, it’d be more expensive to move it to the cloud.

RELATED on Route Fifty: Full coverage of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers annual conference in Austin, Texas

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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