Forecast predicts shift in IT spending

Government spending for information technology may drop as much 10 to 25 percent over the next 36 months, as agencies shift their spending priorities toward an increasing portion of mission- and business-related services, a new government forecasting group announced late last week.

A variety of forces are converging that 'will disrupt the relationship between government and the (IT) industry that surrounds it,' said Bruce McConnell, president and co-founder of the group, called Government Futures.

Those forces include tighter budgets, project complexity, technology changes, and demographics, which are contributing to a wave of retirements among experienced federal IT workers.

McConnell said that as a result, buying power will likely shift to program and mission owners and project risk will likely shift to the private sector. McConnell, prior to moving to the private sector in 2000, served three US presidents at the White House Office of Management and Budget where he led the government's information technology policy organization.

The forecast was based on an undisclosed, but evenly distributed, number of government and industry IT experts, participating in a new Web 2.0-style collaboration Web site, McConnell said. The findings were announced in conjunction with the launch of the site, GovernmentFutures.com. The new site endeavors to capture the views of government-sector IT experts through surveys and online discussion tools, and generate forward-looking reports, according to McConnell and co-founder Margaret Anderson, a long-time computer industry professional.

They said that the new site was itself an example of the kind of disruption impacting federal IT programs that is prompting the kind of shift their collaboration site predicts.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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