Surveys showed what you thought about IT

Surveys showed what you thought about IT

In 2001, GCN boldly ventured where no Reader Survey had gone before. We also revisited some familiar territory.

For the first time, we asked feds about trends and issues in telecommuting, e-mail use, the IT work force, online training, IT management, OMB Circular A-76 studies and PC upgrades.

For prevailing ideas about hardware and software, the survey revisited federal IT managers with questions on workgroup laser printers, network operating systems and servers.

Security and LAN management also were fitting subjects for 2001 surveys.

Among the hottest survey topics this year were IT management, especially as it relates to the question of a federal CIO, and IT work force concerns.

Rank-and-file IT managers were divided over whether a federal CIO position would provide proficient governmentwide IT leadership and help generate interagency collaboration on IT projects. In fact, 39 percent doubted that a federal CIO would be at all effective.

The much-discussed shortage of computer specialists in government was confirmed in another survey, as 59 percent of participants said their agencies struggle to hire and keep IT specialists.

That has made it tough on IT workers who choose to stay in government service.

'I have an outrageous workload,' said a Justice Department systems manager.

Offering higher pay was the remedy recommended by 73 percent of feds polled. The Office of Personnel Management's new special pay structure for computer specialists will help, 42 percent said.

Only 33 percent thought that offloading IT work to the private sector was a effective solution to the shortage.

In a separate survey on outsourcing, 64 percent of managers polled said their agencies have privatized at least some IT functions or services.

GCN also canvassed IT managers about A-76 studies. Only 21 percent said their agencies had done an A-76 study.

More than half, 53 percent, said their studies had taken six months to more than 18 months to complete.

Security also was heavy on the minds of IT managers. Nearly half, 43 percent, considered malicious code to be the No. 1 threat, with hackers second at 25 percent.

Telecommuting was another hot topic. The survey found that many readers like the idea of working from home but not all that many are doing it'only 18 percent said they telecommute. Nearly half of those feds (47 percent) telecommute just one day a week. Another 29 percent work from home two days a week.

For feds who telecommute, 57 percent have PCs or other telecommuting equipment from their agencies; 33 percent get agency-supplied remote connection services.

Telecommuters are keen to avoid traffic and other commuting headaches. They also said they are more productive when working at home without interruption. But some said they miss face-to-face interaction with coworkers and suffer from a sense of isolation.

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