CIOs: Funding is toughest challenge

Administration officials like to say the President's Management Agenda is gaining traction among CIOs and IT executives, but enterprise architecture seems to have won more hearts and minds.

The Association for Federal Information Resources Management asked 700 civilian, Defense Department and intelligence CIOs and other IT managers to rank their top challenges and most critical technologies in the eighth annual Top 10 Federal CIO Challenges Survey.

Thirty-four of 114 respondents'30 percent'said formulating or implementing an enterprise architecture is their biggest challenge. EA got the most votes last year but dropped to third out of 25 challenges in the current survey.

Funding IT projects jumped to the top from No. 5 in 2002, while hiring and retaining technology workers moved to No. 2 from third place. Implementing IT capital plans, managing investments and uniting islands of automation with lines of business rounded out the top five challenges.

Fifty IT executives said Internet, intranet or Web applications were the most critical for them, edging out security infrastructure by one vote. Data mining, security applications and knowledge management rounded out the top five critical technologies.

AFFIRM added five questions to this year's survey to judge the impact of the PMA for the second consecutive year. Forty-seven respondents said the PMA has increased management focus on IT, while 27 said it provides an opportunity to rethink strategic priorities. Most IT executives'75 percent'said they expect the administration's 25 e-government initiatives to be successful or somewhat successful, up from 57 percent in 2002.

Program management remains the biggest skills gap, the survey said, with project and budget planning, project controls, security and enterprise architecture close behind.

Agencies are feeling an impact from the homeland security and cybersecurity initiatives, respondents said. Thirty-three percent of IT managers, up from one-quarter last year, said homeland security initiatives have increased their budgets. A strong majority, 74 percent, said their IT infrastructures are in better shape, up 8 percent from 2002.


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