Wyatt Kash | The challenges ahead

Editor's Desk | Commentary: The key challenges facing government IT managers aren't changing, but how managers tackle them could

Wyatt Kash

As the Bush administration heads into its final stretch and political appointees weigh their next moves, many senior executives in government will continue to tackle the challenges that come with trying to improve government.

For government information technology executives, and senior managers in particular, those challenges ' and the ones anticipated as we head into the next decade ' will sound familiar.

At least that is what the findings suggest from a recent survey of 134 senior government IT officials (GCN.com/828) conducted by GCN's parent, 1105 Government Information Group. The respondents ' about three-quarters from federal agencies and one-quarter from state and local governments ' represented a cross section of senior IT managers and executives, including C-suite executives.

As they see it, the five most important technical challenges in the next five years are pretty much the same ones they face today:

  • Compliance with security directives.
  • Data quality.
  • Disaster recovery.
  • Infrastructure and software security.
  • Data management.

Their relative importance will change, according to the survey results. Data management will grow in stature the most during the next five years compared. Security directive compliance and data quality will grow moderately in importance. Disaster recovery and infrastructure and software security, meanwhile, will decrease slightly in importance.

More telling, perhaps, are other technical challenges that the survey respondents expect to loom much larger during the next five years.

Wireless and mobile security, for instance, jumped the most in importance ' especially among C-suite executives ' when comparing future expectations with today's priorities. Knowledge management and identity management showed similar upward swings. As with most technical challenges, management issues are often as important as the technology issues.

Surveys, of course, frequently fail to anticipate unexpected events, as the impact of the 2001 terrorist attacks on IT plans continues to remind us. For contractors, the upshot is that current needs remain relatively clear. That, we hope, will lead to more focused and energetic solutions for government IT executives working behind the political curtains.

Wyatt Kash, Editor in chief

E-mail: [email protected]

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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