Public sector CIOs are looking for edge analytics, hybrid clouds and secure Internet of Things (IoT) access. The biggest objectives: functional digital workplaces and better public access to government data.

The findings are detailed in a new Gartner report, The Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for Government in 2015.

Lower Spending in 2015

Written by Rick Howard, Research Director, Gartner Industry Research for the Public Sector, it estimates that spending on IT by national, federal and local governments worldwide on products and services will decline 1.8 percent from $439 billion to $431 billion in 2015. However, spending will grow to $475.5 billion by 2019.

The decline this year reflects, to some extent, "the strong appreciation of the US dollar against the main currencies," Howard told CMSWire. "The amount of decline or increase in IT spending – and the reasons that underlie the spending – will vary widely depending on the geographic region, the tier of government and the market segment."

For example, software spending by local and regional governments worldwide is projected to grow by 2.6 percent in 2015, while telecom services are expected to decline by 4.9 percent.”

Gartner Government IT spending

Howard said organizational culture, legacy IT systems and business processes, limited IT budgets and the lack of critical IT skills are inhibiting government CIOs. But that doesn't keep them from dreaming. Here's their wish list:

  1. Digital Workplace:  Government workforces will be transformed to digitally literate employees led by CIOs and IT professionals who build social mobile, accessible and information-driven work environments.
  2. Citizen Engagement: Policy makers, along with CIOs will redesign service models and combine marketing tools like user experience labs with citizen co-creation initiatives for better engagement with public.
  3. Open Data: The number and variety of public-facing open datasets and Web APIs published by all levels of governments worldwide will continue to increase but will take a decade before it is optimized.
  4. Citizen E-ID: Development of an orchestrated set of processes and technologies to provide a trusted domain for how public services will be accessed with personal privacy and data confidentiality paramount.
  5. Edge Analytics: Introduction of edge analytics. Edge analytics are advanced, invisible and pervasive, but accessible to all workers.
  6. Scalable Interoperability: Government agencies will increasingly rely on data exchange with external partners to optimize their service delivery networks
  7. Digital Government Platforms: Public bodies will introduce digital government platforms incorporating service-oriented architecture (SOA) design patterns for the provision and use of enterprise services.
  8. IoT: Government CIOs will approach the IoT strategically and support innovation in operational performance or public service delivery where it is appropriate for public bodies.
  9. Web-Scale IT: Government will shift to Web-scale IT system-oriented architectural pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise.
  10. Hybrid Cloud: Introduction of a hybrid IT models across the entire organization depending on IT and security needs.

Many trends are interrelated, Howard said. He specifically cited citizen e-ID, which enables multichannel citizen engagement, and the IoT, which amplifies the power of edge analytics.

Digital Strategies

He advises CIOs to consider how the unique digital business strategy of their enterprise or agency affects the extent to which these trends may reinforce one another. He also suggests considering the timing and sequence of when they are deployed.

But it’s not going to be plain sailing.

“The likelihood of successfully implementing and managing these cutting edge technologies depends on a number of variables such as the agenda and vision of the chief executive, governance maturity, financing, the prevalence of legacy technologies or organizational readiness,” he said.

He added that the business needs and sense of urgency that drive the rate of technology adoption differ based on the tier of government.

 In most regions of the world, local governments deliver the majority of public services directly to citizens and have the most to gain from the cloud, mobile, social or analytics.

One of the issues that governments — and corporations for that matter — will have to face in the coming years is talent, and the fact that many of these cutting edge technologies depend on very specific skills set to implement.

He said the shortage of skilled workers would be an ongoing problem. "I believe government has a number of options to either acquire or access top digital talent, whether through novel approaches like crowdsourcing or hackathons or through more traditional means like staff augmentation with contract firms, business process outsourcing or internal workforce development, including moving away from low-value added transactional work to investing in high value skills such as business process management, information architecture and analytics," he said.

He said public CIOs can capitalize on these trends by first determining how they will impact government program operations or service delivery models, and then by building the organizational capabilities and capacity to support them.

Simpler Media Group, 2015