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Mobile, cloud poised for growth in 2013

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Mobile devices are among the technologies poised for growth in government next year, according to an IDC forecast.

2012 was a good year for big data, cloud and mobile but next year will see an even more accelerated adoption at all levels of government, according to the experts.

IDC Government Insights’ Dec. 4 webcast highlighted market predictions for the year ahead, and featured analysts Thom Rubel, Ruthbea Clarke, Shawn McCarthy and Adelaide O'Brien. The predictions are drawn from research IDC does, but also from comments from leaders in government and industry, Rubel said. The assessment is for the calendar year, not the fiscal year.

“We really focus on the transformation of business processes,” he said. “So far in government from an operational standpoint, it has changed the way the government does business. That’s really our bias – what do we see in the implementation of IT that’s really transformational?”

The total spending for IT in 2013 is expected to total around $80.9 billion. That number includes only hardware, software and the services part of the IT market, Rubel said.

“When other people look at just the federal IT spending, they go, ‘it’s well over $75 [billion to] $76 billion all by itself, but that’s because we’re not counting things like staff salaries, space and equipment rental and certain types of telecom costs for pure bandwidth and things like that,” he said.

The Defense Department’s 2013 IT spending will be slightly lower than civilian agencies, Rubel said, because the wars are winding down and some related programs will be cut or reduced in capacity. The move to the cloud, as well as consolidation, will help shrink the IT budget as well, he added.

In 2013, infrastructure consolidation will reach its peak as federal, state governments accelerate cloud adoption by more than 50 percent over 2012 levels, comprising 7 percent of all government IT spending, according to the analysis.

“Sounds like there should be more cloud in government with all the hype you’ve heard, but … other industries across the globe are in similar situations,” McCarthy said. “All the IT and cloud solutions they have make up roughly the same type of percentage. Government is on track [and] cloud is happening, but it’s not unfolding as fast as people predicted in the beginning, but it’s definitely unfolding.”

Implementation of big data solutions will grow by a compound annual growth rate of more than 30 percent and will speed up pervasive analytics deployment. Big data spending is expected to increase from about $470 million in 2012 to $1.4 billion by 2016. The services component is the largest part of government spending, O’Brien said. “We not only see it happening now, but also in 2016, so the services part of government big-data spending will grow to about $787 million – or actually 56 percent of all government spending on big data,” she said.

Mobile devices and apps, smart sensors, cloud computing solutions, and citizen-facing portals will generate a near-50 percent increase in digital information. That will bring records-management challenges and retrieval issues. Information overload is also a major issue for organizations, and government data needs to be archived accordingly, O’Brien said.

“Our research shows that if paper documents were available in digital format, every worker would gain almost an hour a day in productivity,” she said. Just digitizing information isn’t enough, however. “Our research also shows that a fourth of government employees are unable to find or access critical information they need more than 50 percent of the time.”

Social business software continues to pick up speed, and 35 percent of government organizations will launch social analytics tools evaluation or implementation, the forecast predicts. “We know that state and local governments are using this a lot to alert about snow days and closings, and even citizens are using this to alert government about things like potholes,” O’Brien said.

On the federal level, social business is used internally to collaborate, mentor and share knowledge. The Homeland Security Department and some Justice components, for example, are also combining social business with analytics/big data for intelligence purposes, O’Brien said. 

Government organizations that promote open data are expected to foster 25 percent more private commercial activity in apps and services, facilitating improved outcomes among their goals. The Digital Government Strategy mandates “anytime, anywhere” digital information and services, making open data, content, and web APIs the new default, O’Brien said. Data.gov has more than 370,000 raw data and geospatial data sets from 180 federal agencies, with 1,260 government- and 236 citizen-developed apps.

“What’s interesting is that Data.gov is also now offering a common API for all data sets … and this will also help provide a uniform program access to all the data,” she said.

These predictions are focused on 2013, but will have a long-range impact, the researchers said.



About the Author

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

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