IT managers eye multiple priorities: survey

Senior agency IT managers believe their priorities are spread across a number of areas instead of just one in fiscal 2006, including ensuring their agencies receive a significant return on investment for their systems, information security and the federal IT budget.

A survey of 97 IT executives conducted by CDW-Government Inc. of Vernon Hills, Ill., at the Information Processing Interagency Conference in Florida last week found feds rated cybersecurity as their top priority (24 percent), but proving ROI and the IT budget scored high as well, coming in at 18 percent each, respectively. Continuity of operations (15 percent) and staff retention (13 percent) also received high marks from the respondents.

In last year's survey, IT managers said cybersecurity was their highest priority by an overwhelming 43 percent, with ROI coming in a distant second with 10 percent.

This year's survey also found that telework takes less priority, with only 1 percent saying it was among their most pressing concerns as opposed to 9 percent last year. Meanwhile, 51 percent of the executives said telework has started or expanded at their agency, while 49 percent said it hasn't changed over the last 12 months.

Additionally, managers said the Office of Management and Budget continues to play the most influential role in federal IT (68 percent), up 9 percent from last year. The House Government Reform (9 percent) and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (5 percent) committees are playing less influential roles in 2006 than in 2005, the survey found.

Agency trust in buying from the General Services Administration has decreased as well, dropping to 46 percent saying they would advocate purchasing from the agency from 54 percent last year. With their diminishing trust in GSA, more than double the number of executives (34 percent) identified more contracting vehicles as the most effective way to improve interagency contracting. Only 15 percent said more contracting officers would help, down from 33 percent in 2005.

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