IT Management, BI Top Government CIO Priorities: Gartner

For the third consecutive year, reducing enterprise costs ranks among the top three business priorities for government CIOs in 2013.

Nearly 75 percent of government IT budgets globally were reported as flat or increasing in 2013, despite a continuing drive to lower the cost of IT services, according to IT research firm Gartner’s Executive Programs 2013 chief information officer (CIO) Agenda survey.

The top three technology priorities in 2013 have all changed since 2012, with business intelligence and analytics moving from the fifth slot to the top spot, followed by legacy modernization and IT management. Improving the government IT organization and workforce has moved to the second in 2013 from the bottom of the top 10 in 2012, which the report said shifts the responsibilities of CIOs and IT professionals away from most legacy technology services to underserved areas of business need.

The report indicated that private-sector business leaders are poised to boost investments in e-commerce, mobile, cloud, social and other major technology categories. Despite this, Gartner projects a modest compound annual growth rate of 1.3 percent for IT spending in the government and education sectors through to the end of 2017, with increased spending for IT services, software and data centers.

The survey also indicated that 76 percent of government CIOs have significant leadership responsibilities outside of IT, with only 24 percent having no responsibilities beyond IT. The average tenure of government CIOs is 3.8 years, compared to an average of 4.6 years across all industries.

For the third consecutive year, reducing enterprise costs ranks among the top three business priorities for government CIOs in 2013. CIOs in government indicated that reducing overall business costs is now more important than reducing IT costs alone, which will permit government CIOs to accelerate enterprise-scale initiatives.

"After years of being told to 'do more with less,' many government CIOs report that budgets have stabilized or are increasing, placing them in a better position to deliver and manage IT services more effectively and efficiently," Gartner research director Rick Howard said in a statement. "These CIOs are now poised to boost the business value of IT by radically restructuring their services portfolio to drive innovation and improve the performance of government."

In conjunction with the imperative to deliver operational results and the need to modernize IT applications and infrastructure, CIOs seem to have affirmed the means by which IT can be used to transform government agency operations and their own bottom-line accountability to do so. The report noted that by placing analytics and business intelligence at the top of the list, government CIOs are addressing government's need to proactively manage programs and services.

"What is certain is that many of the information, business process and project management roles that have been developed over time by IT on a default or 'best fit' basis are now being embraced as competencies by business units, as a result of consumerization and the commoditization of technology," Howard said. "Rather than viewing these trends as a threat, astute CIOs will embrace them as a means to extend their influence and value to areas outside of traditional IT."