Homeland security to power IT growth

Homeland security demands will continue to drive the information technology market in 2004 and 2005, according to a new forecast from Meta Group officials.

Homeland security initiatives will "be a prerequisite on public policy agendas," the group's report concludes, and agencies will be expected to show significant advances in public safety. However, significant collaboration between agencies, extensive enough to increase crossjurisdictional analytical capabilities, will not become prevalent until 2007 0r 2008, the report predicts.

The report identifies other factors that will shape the federal IT world over the next few years, including:

* Collaborative planning will become increasingly formalized. Agency leaders, employees, elected officials and policy makers will share more responsibility for IT investments.

* Public policy's influence on IT investment strategies will increase. Chief information officers will have to continually align IT investments with the priorities of policy makers.

* Agencies will use more analytical and business intelligence tools to monitor and report on business processes. However, Meta predicts that the tools will fail to deliver a broad return on investment because of a lack of strategic analysis in the 2004 to 2005 time frame. By 2007 and 2008, agencies will make better use of the data.

* Government procurement processes will come under greater scrutiny as private firms increasingly deliver government solutions. More progressive government organizations will begin to include corporate culture and account growth strategies into their project evaluations. By 2007, reviews of vendor strategies will become a significant element in long-term source selection decisions.

* To comply with privacy statutes, some CIOs will create flexible architectures to eliminate technical barriers to information sharing. By 2007 and 2008, courts will begin to provide direction on how agencies and vendors should interpret information-sharing statutes.

* Commercial off-the-shelf software will serve as a default design point for business-process rationalization and standardization. By 2006, organizations will build on COTS implementations to extend their investments across the larger enterprise.

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