What's ahead for government IT in 2011?

IDC report sees clouds, collaboration and citizen-created online services

Will 2011 be a year of ground-breaking activity in IT for government?

The further adoption of cloud computing – private and public clouds – is at the top of many forecasters predictions for 2011 both for the public and private sectors. Among other predictions: Agencies will collaborate more, and people will take open-government data to build their own apps for government services.

Not only will cloud computing achieve critical mass this year, but government agencies will step up efforts to reduce contact centers -- much like what they’re doing with data centers – open government will visibly impact collaboration work and agencies will adopt “smarter” technologies, according to an IDC Government Insights report.

These are some of the predictions highlighted in IDC's U.S. Government 2011 Top 10 Predictions.  IDC analysts conducted discussions with government thought leaders as well as technology vendors, consultants and government services contractors.

"In 2011, government finds itself at a turning point, with new infrastructure and managed services options, data availability, and collaboration challenges," according to Thom Rubel, IDC Government Insights' research vice president.


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Data center and infrastructure consolidation initiatives at the federal, state and local levels are paving the way for agencies to obtain more services with enhanced capabilities, Rubel said.

Open government initiatives are prompting agencies to interact with the citizens in a way that gives the public more value, Rubel said. As examples, he cited the Health and Human Services Department’s efforts to open channels of communications with "Mommy bloggers" and The Centers for Disease Control's work to make the public more aware of the H1N1 virus. To provide people with information about the H1N1 flu virus, CDC ramped up social media tools ranging from text messaging to online video.

Developments on the infrastructure side include “opening government’s eyes to new potential of how they can wrap services around the citizen and through open government initiatives start to get creative with their capability.”

No longer are agencies pushing information to users. They are using Web 2.0 to gain value and change how they respond based on what they are learning through these channels, he said.

Government still has a long way to go, Rubel said. However, IDC sees 2011 “as a year of ground-breaking activities as agency and program managers discover capabilities outside of their traditional channels of delivering service,” Rubel said.

The U.S. Government 2011 Top 10 Predictions are:

  1. The federal government will reduce the number of federal contact centers by 25 percent by 2015.
  2. Cloud computing — private and public — will reach critical mass, achieving penetration in 25 percent of government organizations by the end of the year.
  3. Open Government Initiatives will begin to visibly affect collaboration among agencies, programs and processes.
  4. Citizens will begin to design, build and deploy their own desired government services based on the government information through mashups.
  5. Governments will begin to evolve by rationalizing available "smart" technologies and creating strategic frameworks for integrating them across government.
  6. Mobile devices and technologies will affect how and where government employees work.
  7. Operating expenses will overtake capital expenses as the prime funding source for IT in government.
  8. Line of business and program owners will take the driver's seat for guiding the strategic selection of IT.
  9. Skyrocketing information-management and open-records challenges will begin to negatively impact agency operations.
  10. Consolidation in the IT industry serving government will change government operational and IT procurement.

For a free copy of the full report, go to IDC Insights Community and register to become a member.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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