COVID drives growing govt IT spend

Government IT spending in Australia is forecast to increase to $15.5 billion in 2022, according to Gartner, although spending on devices will drop following the work-from-home migration.

Brian Ferreira

Gartner’s latest global forecast sees an 8.8 per cent increase in spending by all levels of Australian Government over the next 12 months, with software topping the spend as agencies seek to improve the responsiveness and resilience of public services in response to covid-19.

The report says the software segment, including applications, infrastructure and vertical-specific software will see growth of more than 19 per cent, while spending on data centres will also increase.

The Australian figures don’t include the education sector.

“Government technology spend in Australia is expected to continue upward for the next few years driven by key programs to progress the digital economy, strengthen national cyber response, adopt emerging technologies and address gaps in regulation,” vice president of executive programs at Gartner Brian Ferreira said in a statement.

Emerging technologies including AI and blockchain will also continue to drive demand, he says, as will the need to validate vaccination, open the economy and regulate borders as the nation emerges from COVID-19.

Gartner estimates that more than 50 per cent of government agencies will have modernised core legacy applications to boost resilience and agility by 2025.

“Key national technology capabilities, whole-of-government cloud and SaaS procurement agreements and digital skills have progressed at a federal level within Australia,” Mr Ferreira says.

“We have also seen a strengthening digital mandate in ministerial roles with cross federal/state collaboration at a state level.”

Source: Gartner

Spending on devices, which represented the strongest growth in 2021 amid the covid-driven expansion of public services remote work, is set to see the biggest drop in 2022.

Telecoms services are forecast to decline for the second year in a row.

Worldwide, government IT spending is forecast to total $US557.3 billion, an increase of 6.5 per cent.

Gartner Research vice president Irma Fabular says uncertainty caused by the global covid-19 pandemic will continue to see increased investments in digital technology by governments.

“The disruptions caused by the pandemic have also reinforced a key digital government tenet, which is public policy and technology are inseparable,” she said.

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