2012 forecast: Pressure builds across gov IT

The plate is always full for government IT departments, and 2012 promises to be a banner year of heaping servings on multiple fronts.

Agencies will wrestle with technology and management trends that will transform long-familiar routines. Mobile technology is resetting the most basic ways that government workers do their jobs and agencies serve citizens — and how CIOs make it all happen.

New fiscal realities mean that application and data center consolidation efforts, often just half-hearted plans in the past, will really start to gain traction. The notion that all federal tech is local will be an expensive indulgence of the past.

Meanwhile, perennial tasks such as replacing employees when they leave will become increasingly challenging because departures due to retirement and other motivators will accelerate. And cash will dry up for old stopgap fixes such as bringing on more contractors.

To help you set your priorities for 2012, we’ve identified the most important changes — and opportunities — in technology, policy and management that lie ahead for the federal community. You might have already started thinking about most of these points at your own organizations. Even better, you might have plans under way. If there was a help-wanted sign that spelled out the work you will face in the coming year, the underlying message would be simple: Caretakers and coattail riders need not apply.

Technology: Subsidized mobile devices and other hot concepts in 2012
By offering a stipend and a secure network connection, agencies will welcome employees’ personal devices at work.

Management: The virtual workforce and other trends in 2012
2012 will see a more intense focus on building a 'hyper-productive, hyper-available' federal workforce.

Defense IT: Preparing for the worst and other survival strategies in 2012
Although everyone will feel the pain of budget cuts in the days ahead, some areas of defense IT will fare better than others.

Gov 2.0: The boom is over and other inconvenient truths in 2012
Having picked all the low-hanging fruit in the form of Facebook, Twitter and mobile apps, federal agencies will be more targeted in their social media approaches in 2012.

IT Acquisition: Pay less now, more later
Acquisition officials, wary of budget scrutiny, are finding it difficult to resist the temptation of low pricing, whatever the long-term costs.

About the Author

John Zyskowski is a senior editor of Federal Computer Week. Follow him on Twitter: @ZyskowskiWriter.

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