Public sector IT leaders struggle with data infrastructure legacy

The impact caused by the pandemic means government tech executives in Europe are looking for ways to quickly modernise their estates, research says

Government technology leaders are struggling with the transformation of the data infrastructure of their departments across Europe as the pressure to rapidly change operation models escalates, according to new research.

The research by technology firm Pure Storage with 511 IT leaders in central government departments, including 105 from the UK, has found that 67% think legacy infrastructure is holding up digital transformation progress.

In addition, 77% feel the pandemic has also taken a personal toll, with increased stress levels owing to the need to drive quick change.

The lack of digital leadership and vision is the most significant barrier to digitising citizen services, cited by 33% of respondents.

According to the survey, these hindrances to digital transformation are leading to increased operational costs (cited by 87%), as well as reduced efficiency (84%) and reduced operational agility (83%). That is despite the awareness from respondents that citizen experience in channels including digital is important to building trust in government, stated by 83% of those polled.

Additional barriers to digitisation are related to legacy infrastructure, cited by 67% as a key issue. Security is another problematic area: 66% of those surveyed felt investment in infrastructure security is not keeping up with security threats. According to the survey, 57% of the leaders polled said their department would sacrifice technology performance in favour of enhanced security.

When it comes to potential ways forward, most participants in the study (86%) agreed they need to be creative and drive cost effectiveness even more when it comes to how they use technology.

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Some 78% stated that agile methodologies and design thinking are more important now than before the pandemic.

Key areas of investment cited by the government leaders polled is security, risk management and remote access technology and mobility, both cited by 77% of respondents. This was closely followed by cloud services, mentioned as a key area of investment for 74% of participants.

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