NASCA Releases New Report: Digitization Implementation is a Significant Hurdle

Monday, November 18, 2019

Although the value of digitization is clear, state leaders report that implementation is often a significant hurdle,
According to Report from NASCA and McKinsey & Company

LEXINGTON, Ky — There is wide recognition among top state operational leaders that digitization is valuable, but many activities are still paper based and adoption of new digital tools is slow according to new research by the National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA), an association dedicated to the governor’s top operational leaders, and McKinsey & Company, a strategic management consulting firm.

“The chief administrator sits at the intersection of IT, finance, procurement, and HR. From this position, we can play a key role in partnering with other state agencies and elected leaders to promote scale and alignment on digital strategy.” Said Dan Kim, NASCA President and Director of the Department of General Services for the State of California

The research developed from a survey of state chief administrations (CAOs) explores the CAO’s role in driving digital adoption, as well as innovative and exciting steps being taken to accelerate the use of digital tools. More specifically, the paper finds the following points:

  • The most successful digital transformations are based on a dynamic, clear digital strategy.
  • One of the defining factors in the success of a digital transformation is whether it has a knowledgeable change leader.
  • Where IT does not report directly to the CAO in around 50% of states, the CAO should push for more awareness and transparency into the statewide digital strategy, particularly to ensure budgets and policies are in line with objectives.
  • CAOs should facilitate digital implementation through agile purchasing and enabling cross-agency collaborations.
  • Many states place a lower priority on digitizing administrative processes than citizen-facing services, therefor CAOs must develop a business case for innovative digital approaches for administrative functions. 

“The most effective digital strategies are bold, innovative, and dynamic. Given the fast pace of change, incremental strategies are unlikely to realize the full value of digital investments. Adopting a learning mindset for their digital strategies; investing in creating more user-centric products and services and creating the flexibility to re- or de-prioritize digital initiatives can help states achieve digital success,” said Gayatri Shenai, a Partner at McKinsey & Company.

Some CAOs are leading the way and finding creative means to overcome barriers, such as strengthening top-down support, doubling down on analytics, centering the conversation on the effect of digital on customer satisfaction, engaging in digital skill-building programs, and promoting broader mind-set shifts. The state of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Illinois are highlighted in the report. 

Download the full report on


About the Reports

To provide a robust set of data and insights states can use to compare state practices and inform forward looking strategic decisions, the National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA) and McKinsey & Company partnered for a second year to produce the Business of Running State Government Operations survey on key issues affecting CAOs today. The survey results are published in three separate papers that focus on real estate, digital government, and risk.


The National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA) is the leading organization advancing professional development and best management solutions for the administrative functions of state government. The association provides state chief administrators with the opportunity to increase their knowledge of state government administration through education, networking and information exchange on state government trends, leading edge innovations, standards and best practices.

NASCA’s mission is to help state chief administrators and their teams strategically transform state government operations through the power of shared knowledge and thought leadership.

About McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company is the world’s leading strategic management consulting firm, deeply committed to helping institutions in the public, private, and social sectors achieve lasting success. For almost a century, McKinsey has served as the most trusted external adviser to governments and private sector companies in the United States and across the globe, helping them solve their most pressing problems, and enabling them to achieve distinctive, substantial, and lasting improvements in their performance. McKinsey’s governance as a private worldwide partnership ensures its independence and objectivity 


Jamie Rodgers
Deputy Director
National Association of State Chief Administrators
(859) 402-9811
[email protected]


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