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Gartner highlights balancing act for public sector CIOs in 2014

Gartner highlights balancing act for public sector CIOs in 2014

BAU or transform government with full digitised business models?

Amidst continuous pressure to cut costs and improve performance of government agencies, CIOs must choose between maintaining current operations or transforming government services with fully digitalised business models, says Gartner.

“There remains an acute need to reduce the overall cost of providing government services while remaining responsive to citizen expectations,” says Rick Howard, research director, Gartner. “However, the need to manage risk while taking steps to fix broken models with new digital innovations is equally important.

"CIOs will need to make the case to invest in digital capabilities by recapitalising stressed IT budgets and optimising technology portfolios to provide more stable operations at a lower cost.”

Related: On solid ground Craig Soutar of the New Zealand Transport Agency talks about the CIO’s ‘balancing act’ of simultaneously leading through a growing ICT portfolio and delivering core services.

Howard says Gartner’s predictions for government highlight the consequences and impacts that flow from adoption of cloud computing, mobile devices, social media and accessibility to new sources of information.

By 2016, at least 25 per cent of government software development positions will be eliminated to fund the hiring of business intelligence and data analysts

“By embracing and not obstructing these disruptive technological changes, government CIOs can pursue opportunities to transform their agency into a digital business.”

He lists at least four trends government CIOs will face:

By 2016, at least 25 per cent of government software development positions will be eliminated to fund the hiring of business intelligence and data analysts.

Cloud economies dramatically reduce the need for internal software development. While the conversion to private and public cloud is growing more slowly in government than in the private sector, the need for internal custom software development is being eradicated, says Gartner. Information availability is exploding to make data analysis the priority skill. Without analysts and business intelligence, the tidal wave of big data will lead to overload rather than progress.

“CIOs and their staff can use the productivity made possible by cloud and business intelligence to fund the transitional work required to make the new capabilities operational," says Howard. "They must prepare and sell the business cases required for this progress.”

By 2017, public cloud offerings will account for more than 25 per cent of government business services in domains other than national defence and security.

“Government CIOs should insert themselves into public cloud sourcing decisions, lead discussions of available sourcing strategies with political leadership in the wake of higher levels of concern, and review current cloud migration activities in light of potential legislative changes,” says Howard.

“It’s essential for CIOs to recognise that they have a proactive role in ensuring that public confidence in government data handling is maintained by ensuring that data protection policies, contractual arrangements and practices are sound and aligned.”

By 2017, as many as 35 per cent of government shared-service organisations will be managed by private sector companies.

Public-private partnership arrangements have started with infrastructure as a service and will eventually move to integration and software as a service. Initially, cost and service advantages will be clear, but only governments that are able to structure favourable agreements will see continued cost and service advantages.

“CIOs and shared-service executives must seek to preserve the relevancy of their service by maintaining or enhancing investment in the enterprise's skills and service offerings, developing multi-sourcing capabilities and regularly evaluating their sourcing decisions,” says Howard.

“It’s essential to develop the dialogue with existing agency leaders and program managers concerning which services are inherently governmental and need to be maintained internally for reasons of security, mission sensitivity or other factors.”

By 2017, more than 60 per cent of government open data programmes that do not effectively use open data internally will be downscaled or discontinued.

“CIOs need to take ownership of the full spectrum use of open data, helping their agencies identify useful internal applications that deliver measurable value, as well as promoting partnerships with other public-sector and non-governmental organisations that are also active on open data initiatives,” said Howard.

“Working with other relevant roles, such as chief data or chief digital officer will help influence open data portfolio management in ways that prioritise the publication of data that is useful for internal purposes.”

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