10 trends shaping the federal IT future

Editor's note: This story was modified to correct the lists of disruptors and enablers. 

Don’t be surprised to see more agencies using information technology to tackle problems stemming from scarce resources and budgets, and adapting practices from the private sector for greater efficiency, performance and innovation.

Deloitte Consulting’s newly released report, "Technology Trends 2012: A Federal Perspective," outlines the top trends influencing IT and its potential to change the ways in which agencies accomplish their missions. Specifically, it highlights 10 technology trends that will play a major role in how federal agencies operate over the next 18 to 36 months.

The annual report groups 10 trends into two categories: Disruptors -- technologies that can create sustainable positive disruption in IT capabilities, business operations and business models – and Enablers, commonly used technologies that warrant another look this year because of new developments.

What these trends have in common is that each is relevant, has significant momentum and the potential to make an impact, Brad Eskind Federal Technology Practice leader and principal at Deloitte Consulting, writes in the introduction.

“Forward-thinking organizations should consider developing an explicit strategy in each area – even if that strategy is to wait and see,” he stated. “But whatever you do, step up. Use the digital forces to your advantage. Don’t get caught unaware or unprepared.”

For the disruptors, the report identifies these five:

1. Social business.

2. Gamification.

3. Enterprise mobility unleashed.

4. User empowerment.

5. Hyper-hybrid cloud.

And as enablers, the report names:

6. Big data.

7. Geospatial visualization.

8. Digital identities.

9. Measured innovation.

10. Outside-in architecture.

“Today, each of these trends can be valuable individually,” Eskind writes. “The combination of two, three, or even more can help accelerate progress towards this new set of business capabilities – enabling a new set of business rules for operations, performance and competition.”

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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Reader comments

Mon, Jul 2, 2012

What is outside-in architecture?

Wed, Jun 27, 2012

I was a little surprised by this until I looked at the report and noticed this article got the roles reversed. The disruptors here are the enablers on the report.

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 John Denver

The 80's - sigh. I was there too. PC's are getting obsolete, and the newer user empowerment trend is the result of anywhere access/mobile capabilities. I do believe the marketeers are getting a bit silly with all the "outsourcing masked as virtualization" nonsense...hyper-hybrid cloud? really? Can I get a spastic-morphing typhoon cluster with that?

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 Stan Lee

Interesting how they only listed added-capability things already widely mentioned in the news and no novel or constraining items --- say related to security like 1) mandatory smartcard use and device-embedded PKI for multi-factor authentication of users and nodes, 2) separation of public Internet and CUI internal networks, 3) pristine, disposable operating systems, and 4) whitelisting as a general practice.

Wed, Jun 27, 2012 RayW

Item 4 was an 80's thing and is rapidly vanishing. User Empowerment happened when the PC broke the chains that IT folks were able to shackle folks with in the mainframe days. Today with networking we are heading back to the old mainframe days with "locked down in the name of security and maintenance" PC's that now look just like a remote terminal on a mainframe. I am frequently forced to go home to get (illegal, but it is a between the rock and the hard spot situation) my work done on a computer that is open.

Of course, looking at comments on other subjects, most folks here are probably too young to remember those days.

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