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Government CIOs must flip from 'legacy first' to 'digital first'

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POST Online Media ▼ | April 3, 2015
The heavy presence of legacy technologies in government is hampering CIOs' efforts to digitize their organizations, according to a survey by Gartner.
Gartner   The 2015 CIO Agenda surveyed over 2,800 CIOs
The 2015 CIO Agenda surveyed over 2,800 CIOs worldwide on their top digital business opportunities, threats and strategies and includes responses from 343 government CIOs.

"The burden of legacy technologies in government puts innovation on a path of incremental improvement when agility and quick solution delivery is expected," said Rick Howard, research director at Gartner.

"To demonstrate 'digital now, digital first' leadership in government, CIOs must flip their approach to managing IT from the inside-out perspective of legacy constraints to the outside-in view of citizen experience. It's all about starting with the digital world and what is possible — thinking cloud, mobile and situational context first — and then considering, 'How do we get there from here?' using information and technology."

Despite being in the top five technology priorities for government CIOs in 2015, securing the funds to invest in legacy modernization may be a stretch, especially for those at the federal or national level (see Table 1). Approximately 30 percent of federal and national CIOs are dealing with decreasing IT budgets.

This compares with 15 percent of state, local and regional (SLR) government CIOs who have the same challenge. However, these IT budget figures reflect a strong regional variation.

For example, 27 percent of the SLR government CIOs surveyed in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region indicate their IT budgets are declining, whereas only 9 percent of the SLR government CIOs in North America report the same. Similarly, the issue of declining budgets appears to be particularly acute in all tiers in the Asia/Pacific region.

IT vendors are moving fast in the direction of cloud-based service models. At the same time, government agencies are becoming more comfortable with cloud solutions based within their regional or national borders for reasons of subscription pricing and increased business agility.

Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom are all aggressively pushing forward with supporting cloud-first strategies.