After years of being told to “do more with less,” government CIOs say their budgets have either stabilized or are increasing. As a result, CIOs feel they are now positioned to better deliver and manage IT services more effectively and efficiently, according to the Gartner Executive Programs 2013 CIO Agenda survey.
“These CIOs are now poised to boost the business value of IT by radically restructuring their services portfolio to drive innovation and improve the performance of government,” said Garter Research Director Rick Howard.
Nevertheless, Gartner analysts predict that the relatively brighter IT budget outlook may be short-lived.
While private-sector businesses are said to boost investments in e-commerce, mobile, cloud, social and other technology categories, only a modest 1.3 percent compound annual growth rate is expected for IT spending in government. The rate of growth is suggested to continue through 2017 with increased spending for IT services, software and data centers, and reductions in internal technology services, devices and telecom services.
Of the 1,959 CIOs surveyed worldwide from all industries, almost all indicated that reducing overall business costs is more important than reducing IT costs alone. Additionally, for the third year in a row, decreasing company costs was ranked as one of the top three business priorities for government CIOs in 2013, with “delivering operational results” and “improving IT applications and infrastructure” as the top two.
“When faced with unsustainable business models, government executives are more willing to make targeted technology investments and undergo the extensive organizational change necessary to achieve the productivity and quality gains made possible by IT,” said Howard. “Introducing new technology services and workforce capabilities will establish IT as a key partner in achieving business result that matter to citizens and agency employees.”
The survey also found that 76 percent of government CIOs have “significant leadership responsibilities outside of IT,” with only 24 percent having no responsibilities beyond IT. In general, the average tenure of government CIOs is 3.8 years, compared to an average of 4.8 years in all other 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 consumerization and the commoditization of technology,” he added.
Howard concluded, “Rather than viewing these trends as a threat, astute CIOs embrace them as a means to extend their influence and value to areas outside of traditional IT.”