States should take a services-minded look at modernization, digital transformation

For states and cities struggling with legacy modernization, there is a way forward, Citrix’s national director of state and local government says.

“It starts with having a services-oriented mindset,” Citrix’s David Smith says in an interview with StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers midyear conference last month. “There should be a combination of applications that they’re gonna have to deliver, right?”

Indeed, states often have to deal with a hybrid approach between legacy technology and mobile-ready, cloud-based digital services. That hybrid approach, Smith says, has states turning to virtualization and cloud computing to supplement the functions that legacy technology can’t deliver.

“How do you take those applications and deliver them to those newer devices, make them more mobile, allow a case worker to access all the information that they have closer while they’re out in the field,” says Smith, the company’s director of state and local government sales.

But mobility is just one piece of the puzzle, Smith says. It all comes down to citizen services.

“The one biggest thing that [states] have to do is engage with their citizens,” Smith says. “I think they should take from commercial entities, how they engage with their customers — it’s highly mobile experiences, being able to access things from anywhere.”

For states, it’s the synthesis of mobile, cloud and legacy modernization that brings together a state’s IT strategy.

“I think they all kind of play together,” Smith says. “You start with looking at cloud as a way to extend the data center, being able to provide some services, being able to rapidly adapt, provide a new service without massive capital investment to get started.”

And of course, Smith says, cybersecurity needs to be a part of those efforts.

“I think it starts with building security into the services that you are providing, rather than trying to bolt them on afterwards,” Smith says. “It’s very difficult to bolt security on after the fact.”