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Survey highlights differences in IT preparedness

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What: A report prepared by MeriTalk and underwritten by Brocade titled "Big Five in Overdrive: Are State and Local Networks Ready?"

Why: The report highlights challenges state and local governments face in preparing for the coming impact of the so-called big five IT trends: data center consolidation, mobility, security, big data and cloud computing. The report is a follow-up to a September 2013 MeriTalk survey that highlighted how most federal agencies are not equipped to deal with the looming network bottleneck driven by the same IT trends. There are some interesting parallels in the two reports.

For example, 94 percent of the 201 state and local IT professionals who responded to the latest survey said their agencies were not fully prepared for the big five's infrastructure requirements -- a slightly higher percentage than the 88 percent of feds who had voiced the same concerns. State and local leaders, however, were less concerned about potential network bottlenecks than feds were (63 percent versus 84 percent).

State and local governments appear to be ahead of the federal government in deploying big five initiatives in the next two years. In addition, 70 percent of federal agencies viewed security as the biggest challenge, compared to 59 percent of state and local IT officials. The latter group also rated bandwidth storage limitations as challenges almost on par with security in the coming years.

A comparison of the surveys also suggests that the federal government has more work to do in preparing for the pending changes: 45 percent of the federal government's IT infrastructure will need to evolve, compared with only 23 percent of state and local agencies' IT infrastructures.


  • The Big Five -- data center consolidation, mobility, security, big data, and cloud computing -- are headed for state and local agencies. The majority of state and local agencies will have deployed each of the Big Five by 2016.
  • But bigger challenges lie ahead: The vast majority of IT pros (94 percent) say their agency is not fully prepared for Big Five infrastructure requirements.
  • If they fully deployed the Big Five today, 63 percent of state and local IT pros say they would face network bottleneck risks and 89 percent say they would need additional network capacity to maintain the same service levels.

Full report:

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

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