Managers face familiar hurdles: security and funding

What do government IT managers worry about the most?

“Our biggest challenge is security,” said an IT manager at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, reflecting the opinion of nearly half the respondents in a GCN telephone survey.

“It’s difficult to meet the needs of security and customers,” added a senior systems support technologist at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Getting enough money for IT was cited as a challenge by 41 percent of the managers in the survey.

“We need funding for new technology and upgrades,” said a computer specialist at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington.

Other managers we talked with zeroed in on a necessary link between funding and the need for better security.

“The need for security is putting greater demands on our funding,” said an Agency for International Development contracts specialist in Washington.

While only 18 percent in the survey identified building enterprise architectures as a management hurdle, 58 percent said developing enterprise architectures is proving more burdensome than expected.

Half of survey participants expected enterprise architectures to show future benefits. But nearly a third termed the government’s enterprise-architecture effort another management fad.

Respondents were closely split on whether additional executive positions, such as chief architect or chief technology officer, enhance the effectiveness of agency IT management.

Forty-six percent said additional positions make management more effective, while 45 percent said they simply add more layers of bureaucracy.

“There are already too many layers of bureaucracy,” said a Homeland Security Department electrical engineer in Arlington, Va.

Thirty-eight percent in the survey found it increasingly burdensome to meet the abundance of IT directives, mandates and statutory requirements that agencies face.

“Compliance with the [Federal Information Security Management Act] and other mandatory reporting laws is a challenge,” said a supervisory IT specialist for the Labor Department in Washington.

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