Research: Federal IT Priorities: Focus On The Foundation

Aug 10, 2012


Research: Federal IT Priorities: Focus On The Foundation

InformationWeek Government’s third annual Federal Government IT Priorities Survey shows that federal IT pros are ­focused on providing a secure, solid foundation for their agencies’ many other IT efforts. Security, continuity planning, and data records management—in that order—top the list of federal IT priorities. Our survey, conducted in July, was completed by 147 federal IT pros.

IT strategy decisions aren’t made in a vacuum. 2012 is an election year, a period when many agency leaders shift into a more cautious wait-and-see mode. And for the fourth year in a row, federal IT budgets will be flat. The single greatest barrier to effective IT execution, according to our survey, is lack of funding.

Some people see adoption of consumer-like IT products and services as a way around these constraints, by putting new productivity and collaboration tools into the hands of federal employees at low cost. However, only 5% of respondents consider “bring your own device” to be an extremely important IT initiative.

A major effort to reduce redundancy and increase efficiency in federal IT operations is the Office of Management and Budget’s “shared first” strategy, which calls for agencies to share IT resources, facilities, and services. In our survey, shared services garnered a 3.2 rating (out of 5) on the federal IT priority list.

Agency-specific goals are the most-mentioned driver of IT priorities, cited by 70% of respondents (up from 57% in our 2011 survey), while half of respondents said OMB is a primary driver. And our survey revealed that agencies are following their strategic IT plans more closely than they did in 2011.

We’re surprised that cloud computing is only a midtier IT priority. The cloud scored a 3.3 on our priority list, failing to make it into the top 10 initiatives. One development that could spur cloud adoption is the FedRAMP, which, after two years of planning, is now up and running.

The program employs third-party organizations to perform independent assessments of cloud services on behalf of an agency. In our survey, 16% of respondents said they are already using FedRAMP and 36% plan to use it within 12 months.

This report provides in-depth analysis of the top five federal IT priorities: cybersecurity/security; disaster recover ­planning/continuity planning; data records management; data center consolidation; and storage solutions/data growth.

The priorities are interrelated. Getting one initiative right often has a bearing on the success of others. (R5400812)

Research Report