Gartner expects a boost to government IT

After years of austerity measures, government CIOs are set to start spending again, according to research from analyst Gartner

After years of austerity measures, government CIOs are set to start spending again, according to the latest research from analyst Gartner.

Gartner projects a modest compound annual growth rate of 1.3% for IT spending in the government and education sectors to the end of 2017, with increased spending for IT services, software and datacentres.

These increases are offset by reductions in internal technology services, devices and telecoms services.

“After years of being told to do more with less, many government CIOs report that budgets have stabilised or are increasing, placing them in a better position to deliver and manage IT services more effectively and efficiently,” said Gartner research director Rick Howard.

As in 2012, delivering operational results remained the top business priority for CIOs in 2013, while reducing enterprise costs has dropped a place to third since 2012. 

The second highest business priority for government CIOs in 2013 was improving IT applications and infrastructure, an area of IT improvement that was not ranked in 2012 or 2011.

Top 10 government CIO business and technology priorities in 2013

  Top 10 business priorities   Top 10 technology priorities
1. Delivering operational results 1. Business intelligence and analytics
2. Improving IT applications and infrastructure 2. Legacy modernisation
3. Reducing enterprise costs 3. IT management
4. Attracting and retaining customers 4. Collaboration technologies
5. Implementing enterprise strategy 5. Mobile devices
6. Attracting and retaining the workforce 6. Mobile workforce application
7. Increasing enterprise growth 7. Security technologies
8. Improving business processes 8. Cloud computing
9. Increasing management controls 9. Virtualisation – desktop
10. Implementing mobility solutions 10. Service-oriented architecture
Source: Gartner Executive Programs (May 2013)

The top three technology priorities in 2013 have all changed since 2012. Business intelligence and analytics moved from number five in 2012 to the highest priority for government CIOs in 2013. Legacy modernisation was their second highest technical priority. 

Gartner believes that by placing analytics and business intelligence at the top of the list, government CIOs are addressing the government's need to proactively manage programmes and services.

Government CIOs are also placing a big emphasis on the organisation and function of the IT department. Improving the government IT organisation and workforce has moved to the second spot in 2013, up from number nine in 2012.

“Many of the information, business process and project management roles that have been developed over time by IT, on a default or 'best fit' basis, are now being embraced as competencies by business units as a result of consumerisation and the commoditisation of technology,” said Howard.

The Gartner report Government agenda 2013 found that government CIOs recognised they needed to invest in a workforce capable of collaborating effectively with government department leaders and programme managers to identify business priorities.

The report recommended that government CIOs streamline procurement and reform contracts to level the playing field among established contractors. It also said smaller or newer firms will generate competitive sourcing alternatives for CIOs as they rebalance the IT services portfolio.

The news comes as the UK Office of National Statistics announced a 0.1% decline in inflation for July 2013.

Read more on IT strategy