Metadata among 2006 IT priorities

What technologies will agencies be implementing this year? According to GCN's exclusive survey of federal, state and local readers, metadata will play a key role in several critical IT initiatives. Data warehousing, service-oriented architectures and Extensible Markup Language all rank high among the IT projects that agencies will be embarking on or expanding in 2006, and all rely on metadata to enable information sharing, gathering and organization.

'There will be a lot of focus on the technologies that support the movement of data back and forth between agencies,' said Payton Smith, public sector director at the research firm Input Inc. of Reston, Va. 'If you've got a collaborative environment where multiple agencies will be using the same systems, how do you make sure the information is in the right bucket?' The answer, increasingly, could be metadata.

In fact, Input identified several software categories it expects federal agencies to procure this year, and several are data-intensive, including document/content management and knowledge management. GCN's readers seem to be thinking along those lines, too. Thirty-five percent of respondents to our survey, a larger share than for any other technology, said they'd be implementing records management systems this year. Records management is closely aligned, and often overlaps with, document and knowledge management projects.

Going beyond mere data, agencies predictably said they would continue working on security technologies and new communications systems, including wireless networks, voice over IP and video conferencing.

What about Microsoft Windows Vista, arguably the most anticipated technology launch of this year? In a separate question, readers said they were in no hurry to roll out the new operating system. Assuming Vista comes out around July, as Microsoft has indicated, only 4 percent of respondents said they'd deploy it this year. Instead, 25 percent said 2007 will likely be the year Vista appears in their agencies; another 20 percent said they are eyeing 2008.

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