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Gartner Advises Government CIOs to Think Cloud First

gartner govt in the clouds6x3When IT research and analyst house Gartner released its 2015 CIO Agenda Report last month, it encouraged enterprise CIOs to ‘flip to digital leadership’ and take a cloud-first approach to major projects. Now, Gartner is offering Government and public sector CIOs and IT decision makers the same advice.

In a press release earlier this month, Gartner promoted a new analysis of its 2015 CIO Agenda report titled “2015 CIO Agenda: A Government Perspective.”

Gartner surveyed 2810 respondents in 81 countries, with a combined $12.1 trillion in revenue/public sector budgets, and $397 billion in IT spending for the 2015 CIO Agenda. 343 (about 12%) of survey respondents were CIOs or IT decision makers working in government.

In this new report, Gartner gives Government CIOs the same advice that they gave to private sector IT leaders: legacy technologies are becoming a burden, and CIOs must ‘flip’ to digital leadership.

“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, Gartner Research Director, in the press release. Howard says that Govt. CIOs must demonstrate “digital-now, digital-first” leadership, and switch from approaching problems from the perspective of legacy-constraints to approaching them from the perspective 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 technology.”

Results from Gartner’s survey found that cloud adoption is a high priority for govt. CIOs.  Gartner ranked 2015’s top technology priorities for government and Industry CIOs worldwide on a scale of one to twelve; cloud ranks as the third highest  priority for CIOs on the federal and national level as well as for defense and intelligence CIOs, and the fourth highest priority for state, local and regional (SLR) level CIOs.

Infrastructure and data center technology hold the top priority positions across the board, but Gartner predicts a shift in CIO priorities as government IT organizations reduce their role as infrastructure providers and data center operators, due to the increased prevalence of the public-cloud market.

As IT vendors continue moving towards cloud-based service models, government agencies will build confidence with regards to cloud solutions, according to Gartner.

“In a relatively short time, cloud has moved from a concept to a possibility to a viable option and, for a small minority of government CIOs, [cloud] is now a first choice when a project comes along,” said Mr. Howard.

However, Gartner warns that moving government IT to cloud infrastructure could be a difficult task, despite being a high priority, due to shrinking budgets.

Approximately 30% of federal and national level CIOs, and 15% of SLR CIOs are facing shrinking IT budgets, according to Gartner.

Budget constraints are particularly troublesome in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa Region % (EMEA), where 27% of SLR CIOs report declining IT budgets, compared to just 9% of SLR CIOs in North America reporting shrinking budgets.

But, if Gartner is correct in their analysis, this constraints will only delay the inevitable. “With cost, value, and security as top considerations, government CIOs should begin with the assumption that public cloud is the preferred deployment option and then, if necessary, work back from public cloud to the cloud, co-location, or on-premises option that provides the best fit for their business environment,” said Mr. Howard. The trend is already in motion in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, where governments are pushing cloud-first IT strategies.


Click here to read the full press release.

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