Legacy system overhauls remain central to states’ IT priorities in 2010

According to a new study, information technology priorities at the federal, state and local levels of government share common outcomes, but investments on how those outcomes are attained differ.

New research by CompTIA, a global IT trade association, finds that agencies at all levels of government are looking towards IT to help them face financial and organizational challenges, given their budgetary problems. But a growing emphasis at the federal level on transparency and modernization has meant keeping pace with a host of different possible technology solutions, 58 percent of federal respondents said.

On the state and local side, more buyers of IT (58 percent) suggest they simply need a way to move beyond the legacy systems that hinder interoperability, results showed. Over half of local governments respondents also said they need to enhance the technical skills of their employees before they have the kind of modern government bureaucracy most citizens expect.

“If the promise of an open, efficient and technology savvy government is to be realized, some key challenges must be overcome,” Tim Herbert, vice president of research at CompTIA, said in a statement.

However, commonalities in some emerging technology solutions and strategies have gained attention from IT leaders at all levels of government, the report found.

Similar to a report published recently by market research firm INPUT, solutions like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), cloud computing, virtualization and social networking initiatives are expected to take the limelight in 2010, the CompTIA survey showed. “Tight budgets often spur creativity and can increase the willingness to try new approaches,” Herbert said. “Our research points to government interest in [such] initiatives as evidence of the need to meet the dual goals of containing costs and modernizing technology.”

Government IT buyers said they expect to invest in a range of purchases, with desktop or laptop PCs, infrastructure hardware, software upgrades and security solutions topping their lists. In tandem with these priorities, the report found increased interest in “green IT” solutions – where roughly three in four government IT buyers said they expect to implement a power management solution or more energy efficient technology over the next year.

“The cost savings and environmental benefits associated with green IT increasingly are factors that enter into the IT purchase equation,” Herbert noted.

CompTIA’s Government IT Spending Plans study is available at http://www.comptia.org/research.aspx

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