What Tech Solutions Are Government Agencies Seeking?
Challenged by tight budgets, bureaucratic hurdles and a dramatic rise in cybersecurity attacks, government agencies are looking for technology solutions that help them become more efficient while reducing costs, according to recent research released by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the IT industry.
CompTIA’s second annual “Government IT Purchase Plans” study finds that the top influencer driving government IT purchase plans over the next 12 months is a desire to become more efficient and reduce long-term costs. It was identified as an influential or very influential factor in purchase decisions by 60 percent of the government IT decision makers or influencers surveyed.
A majority of respondents, 54 percent, said the need to comply with a mandate or regulation is a driving factor in IT spending. Other top purchase influencers include responding to the needs of citizens and staff (53 percent) and the need to modernize aging systems (47 percent), especially systems that are vulnerable to security threats due to dated technology.
“Though budget challenges and the burden of bureaucracy can slow the pace of change, government technology spending will continue, particularly on solutions that help to ease the challenges of resources and security,” said Amy Carrado, director of market research at CompTIA. “But with money to spend increasingly precious, agencies are likely to demand greater returns on their investments and require vendors to clearly prove the effectiveness of their solutions.”
Nearly four in 10 (39 percent) federal, state and local government IT decision makers and influencers identified new data backup and recovery solutions as a priority over the next 12 months. Security applications were cited by 37 percent of respondents, followed by virtualization solutions (30 percent) and content management solutions (24 percent). Options such as unified communications and cloud computing (18 percent each) ranked slightly lower.
“This may be a signal that government users need further education from their IT providers on how cloud computing and unified communications can effectively address their objectives of greater operational efficiencies,” Carrado said.
Among specific products on government shopping lists, desktop PCs (51 percent) and laptop PCs (48 percent) hold the top two spots, according to the CompTIA study. Local government agencies are especially bullish on purchases of new PCs, including tablet PCs.
Other purchase priorities for the next 12 months include servers (37 percent), printers (33 percent), operating systems (32 percent), productivity suites and software (28 percent), network infrastructure (27 percent) and smart phones (23 percent).
Agencies Plan More Training
Nearly half (44 percent) of government IT respondents at the federal, state and local levels plan to implement employee training for both IT staff and end users during the next 12 months.
“This suggests that even under severe budget constraints, government agencies continue to recognize the importance of a well-trained workforce that understands how to effectively use technology,” Carrado said.
Among the training priorities are PC maintenance, help desk and tech support; security; disaster recovery and backup; and networking. Project management, business intelligence and data management and analysis also appear on the list.
Increased interest in training by government agencies is something that technology vendors and solution providers should note, according to Carrado.
“Technology providers should consider providing training sessions as a value-add when government organizations purchase a product, or offering mini-tutorials to employees at agencies where there is potential for purchases in the near future,” she said.
CompTIA’s “Government IT Purchase Plans” study was developed from a survey of 375 federal, state and local IT buyers and influencers. The data was collected during late February 2011.
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