Governments to increase spending on cloud, cybersecurity and analytics

Gartner’s Rick Howard

Leading IT analyst group Gartner predicts that cloud computing, cybersecurity and data analytics will be the top technology spending priorities in the public sector CIOs in 2018. And data centre infrastructure will be the most commonly targeted technology for cost savings.

A global Gartner survey of government CIOs found that 16 percent of respondents said they plan to increase spending on business intelligence (BI) and analytics, and 6 percent planned to increase spending on data management in 2018.

Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey gathered data from 3,160 CIO respondents in 98 countries and across major industries, including 461 government CIOs. Digital transformation was the top-ranked business priority among government CIOs overall, followed by security and governance.

“Digital transformation revolves around data,” said Rick Howard, research vice president at Gartner, who specialises in government IT implementation. “To be successful, public sector CIOs need to focus on expanding their data and analytics capabilities and creating a data-centric culture, by increasing the availability of open data and APIs for internal use and public consumption.

“Building out data analytics infrastructure is fundamental to improving government program outcomes and services to citizens.”

The survey found that digital business and digital transformation is more important for government (first priority for 18 percent of respondents) than for all industries (17 percent). Private sector companies ranked it second, after growth and market share. The next three business priorities for government are security, safety and risk (13 percent,; governance, compliance and regulations (12 percent); and technology initiatives and improvements (11 percent).

“Government CIOs have conflicting priorities. They need to bring transformative change to their organisations, while pursuing compliance-oriented priorities,” said Mr Howard. “They will need to work constructively with other business leaders to agree how to balance risk and innovation to support digital transformation.”

In response to the question “Which technology investment is most crucial to achieving your organization’s mission?” cloud and BI/analytics were mentioned by 19 percent and 18 percent of government CIOs respectively, followed by infrastructure/data centre at 11 percent. National and federal CIOs are the exception, placing CRM (customer relationship management) as a distant third.


Rank Government Priorities % Respondents
1 Cloud services/solutions 19%
2 BI/analytics 18%
3 Infrastructure/data centre 11%
4 Digitalization/digital marketing 6%
5 Customer relationship management 5%
6 Security and risk 5%
7 Networking, voice and data communications 4%
8 Legacy modernization 4%
9 Enterprise resource planning 4%
10 Mobility/mobile applications 3%

Four categories that differ from other sectors:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) ranks among the top ten technology area for the overall sample, but is not present for government (ranked 19th). The exception is defence and intelligence, where a greater percentage of CIOs mentioned AI (7 percent) over CIOs in other industries (6 percent).
  • Application programming interfaces (APIs) are considered important by a greater percentage of federal or national CIOs (4 percent) than other tiers of government or the private sector, which did not position APIs among the top ten technologies.
  • Cloud services/solutions and infrastructure/data centre combined was ranked in the top ten by 30 percent of government CIOs, compared with only 12 percent in all other industries. In contrast, digitalisation/digital marketing in the private sector sits at 16 percent, more than twice the rate in government (6 percent).
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) is a top ten item for all industries, but is not present for government (ranked 12th). The two exceptions are local government (due to smart city projects), and defence and intelligence, which relies on data flowing from sensors that monitor a wide range of activity.

“Many government CIOs are rebalancing capital expenditure (capex) and operating expenditure (opex) spending patterns to reduce technical debt, while making the strategic shift to cloud,” said Mr Howard.

“They should consider cloud as the means to accelerate the digitalization of their organizations and enable the business optimisation that results.”

Rick Howard and other Gartner a will discuss the role of data in digital government at Gartner’s Data and Analytics Summit, 26-27 February in Sydney. Details here.

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