Feds see IT as cost, not opportunity

Federal executives have a laundry list of priorities, but IT doesn’t seem to be one of them for many.

MeriTalk’s 2012 “The Customer is Always Right” study looked at how federal executives view and leverage IT. The findings showed a little more than half of the surveyed federal executives said their top priorities include streamlining business processes. Nearly 40 percent cited cutting waste as their most important mission, and 32 percent said increasing accountability placed first on their to-do list.

The survey was of 279 non-IT executives, giving an indication of their view of IT.

Fewer than half of the federal executives think of IT as an opportunity versus a cost. Just 56 percent said IT helps support their daily operations; and less than one-fourth said IT lends them a hand in providing analytics to support business decisions, saving money and increasing efficiency, or improving constituent processes or services.

Despite multiple IT programs in progress – from the "shared-first" policy to the Digital Government Strategy -- federal managers don’t know if IT initiatives will drive enhanced performance outcomes. Fifty-two percent believe new models to support teleworkers or mobility will result in better performance outcomes, while 42 percent said cloud computing will do the same.

To better support their agency missions, federal executives said they look to new technologies, revamped IT systems and better tools for mobile workers. Enhanced end-user support and training also provide the IT department an opportunity to better support a mission.

Nearly all (95 percent) of federal executives agree their agency could see substantial savings with IT modernization. Each agency could slash $11 billion or 14 percent of the fiscal year 2013 federal IT budget of nearly $80 billion. Federal IT managers said with cloud alone, the government could save $12 billion annually, according to an April 2012 report by MeriTalk.

About the Author

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

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