IT execs optimistic about e-gov

AFFIRM Web site

Two-thirds of senior federal information technology officials anticipate successful implementation of e-government initiatives, according to the Association for Federal Information Resources Management's eighth annual survey.

In the Top Ten Challenges Survey released today, 67 percent of IT officials polled predicted some implementation success of the initiatives, up from 39 percent in 2002.

"This dramatic increase means the president's e-gov agenda is showing positive results," the survey stated. "A few respondents expect a negative impact on e-government initiatives from the continuing resolution and budget cuts."

As in the 2002 survey, respondents were asked five special questions — including some about the president's management agenda and homeland security — in addition to questions about the top 10 challenges for chief information officers and top 10 critical technologies.

The survey also showed an increase in the number of officials who believe the president's management agenda impacts the emphasis on IT management, while the number of officials who thought the agenda didn't affect their mission dropped, according to AFFIRM officials. About 76 percent of respondents said the agenda raises the visibility of technology, increases management focus on IT and provides an opportunity to rethink strategies. Nine percent said the management agenda is not relevant, down from 13 percent in 2002.

IT officials identified program management, budget and control of IT implementation as areas where there were skill gaps, a change from last year when enterprise architecture topped the list.

"Perhaps this is due to the progress made by several agencies in developing the enterprise architecture, as well as an increased awareness of the importance of [program management] skills in obtaining OMB project approval," the survey said.

The number one challenge was obtaining adequate funding for IT programs and projects, an area that was number five last year. "The respondents are again sending a strong message that IT programs and projects have not been receiving the funding necessary to ensure successful implementation and maintenance," the survey said.

Hiring and retaining skilled professionals held the number two challenge spot, and formulating an enterprise architecture fell from number one to the third ranking challenge this year. Making business and cultural changes necessary for e-gov transformation fell from the top five for the first time in three years, again showing progress on the initiatives, the survey suggested.

Despite efforts from OMB officials to raise the visibility of the need to comply with accessibility requirements, that topic was ranked last out of 25 in the survey for the second year in a row. "While Section 508 compliance continues to be a hot political topic, it does not appear to be of concern to the senior IT community," the survey said.

In the list of top technologies, Internet applications, security infrastructure and knowledge management took the top three spots and have been in the top five for the last four years, according to the survey.

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