Government tech budgets stabilise

Government tech budgets stabilise

Two-thirds of public sector CIOs indicate IT budgets are flat or even increasing

Government technology budgets appear to be stabilising or even increasing, according to research firm Gartner.

Gartner spoke to 1959 government CIOs worldwide – including 112 in Australia and New Zealand – with 75 per cent of respondents indicating that their IT budgets were flat or even increasing this year.

Rick Howard, research director at Gartner, said after years of being told to do more with less, many government CIOs are in a “better position to deliver and manage IT services more effectively and efficiently”.

But the relatively good budget outlook for government might be short-lived compared to the private sector where business leaders were expected to increase investments in e-commerce, mobile, cloud, social and other major technology categories, Gartner said.

The researcher has predicted a modest annual growth rate of 1.3 per cent for IT spending in government and education sectors through to the end of 2017, with increased spending on IT services, software and data centres.

These increases will be offset by reductions in internal technology services, devices and telecom services, Gartner said.

Business and technology priorities for government CIOs were strongly aligned with other industries. For the third year, cutting enterprise costs was among the top three business priorities for government CIOs as well as delivering operational results and modernising IT applications and infrastructure.

These findings were part of the Gartner Executive Programs 2013 CIO Agenda survey, which also found that 76 per cent of government CIOs have leadership responsibilities outside of IT. Only 24 per cent didn’t have responsibilities beyond IT.

Meanwhile, the average tenure of government CIOs is 3.8 years compared to an average of 4.6 years across all industries.

“What is certain is that 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.

“Rather than viewing these trends as a threat, astute CIOs will embrace them as a means to extend their influence and value to areas outside of traditional IT.”

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