April 15, 2009 By Emma Newcombe
With a new federal administration and prevailing concern about budget cuts and unemployment, citizens and public officials are wondering what the future holds for government. IDC's Government Insights, a research and consulting firm, hosted a Web conference Worldwide Government 2009 Top 10 Predictions, on Jan. 9 to address this growing problem.
With a $3 billion increase in the federal IT budget and a 3.4 percent growth rate, government is the largest IT buyer. The conference addressed key issues that will impact government's use of IT in 2009.
Among them: The faltering economy will force government to adopt the business role of overseer of financial institutions; this will require public officials to learn new business and IT skills. In addition, economic issues and new leadership have created new expectations of government: Citizens believe that government should help rebuild the economy and become more transparent. Government will also focus on economic recovery, creating various programs and altering priorities to improve finances. Finally, because of the tight fiscal environment, investment optimization is critical to saving money while improving capabilities.
Government Insights' 10 predictions for government in 2009:
1. Government will struggle with its new business role.
2. Cyber-attacks will threaten financial systems.
3. The government talent pool "leak" will slow, but replacements will be hard to find.
4. Fraud detection will be necessary to protect health-care and finance programs.
5. Federal spending will flow, but not grow as in recent years.
6. Obama's communication style will accelerate a high-tech communication boom.
7. Gov 2.0 will be redefined and not optional.
8. Infrastructure programs will move to hosted, pay-as-you-go models to save money.
9. Use of shared services will accelerate due to budget and delivery demands.
10. State budget shortages will change outsourcing relationships.
According to Government Insights, 2009 will be a year of technological change, from increased shared services to new infrastructure programs. To make this transition, the seminar panel advised that governments integrate social networking tools, which younger workers expect. Government Insights also encouraged agencies to perform an immediate assessment of their IT infrastructure, and IT and program performance reviews to prevent future troubles.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.