Government now drives technology, Cisco CEO says

John Chambers, Cisco Systems CEO

Henrik De Gyor

Once a technology follower, government now pioneers IT that will make agencies more productive and help drive the overall economy, Cisco Systems Inc. CEO John Chambers said today.

'Government is starting to lead in its implementation of technology to change process,' Chambers said during the opening address at FOSE 2004 in Washington.

The trend began about seven years ago and has begun to pick up speed, with the Defense Department being one of the principal innovators, he said. Chambers cited the department's network-centric initiative as an example of government setting the pace on technology innovation.

Going forward, government will remain one of the leaders in directing new technologies, he said

But Chambers warned that implementing new technologies without first addressing business processes could backfire on agencies and their integrators.

Cisco last year conducted a study to measure the impact of technology on 300 organizations and found that network-enabled applications, plus the appropriate changes in business processes, could increase productivity up to five times. But the order in which organizations approach technology implementation has a tremendous impact on whether those efforts succeed, Chambers said.

If groups deploy network-enabled apps before changing relevant business practices, costs sometimes increase by up to 9 percent, the Cisco study found. Modifying business practices before deploying apps, however, can reduce costs by up to 30 percent, Cisco reported.

'There are some agencies ' that threw a lot of money at IT and didn't get productivity increases,' Chambers said. 'If you don't change process or you don't get buy-in from the organization to change ' you don't get the productivity increases.'

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