As the end of the largest Gartner Symposium ever is approaching, I thought I would like to share some of the take aways from interacting with hundreds of government clients over the last four and a half days:
- Serious budgetary concerns are percolating through US federal government agencies and, while state and local governments have found themselves in the past in financial difficulties, this is almost totally new to them.
- State and local government remains in a tight fiscal situation and need to continue looking for efficiencies. For some, this will require IT leaders to be more radical to achieve even greater levels of efficiency, despite how tightly run IT may have become after the 2008-2009 recession.
- Government financial sustainability is being recognized as a major issue, and the Gartner messaging around smart government start resonating with people, although there is still confusion with other, more traditional uses of the term “smart”.
- Cloud computing is still at the top of the list in terms of client interest on new technology (together with mobile devices and applications), but there is a real chasm between the level of interest and the actual deployments.
- Some data suggest that cloud in government may move significantly slower than expected. Only 10% of email deployments will be cloud-based by 2014, it will take a decade to reach 50% (as my colleague Matt Cain said in a public sector session today), and cloud email is the first mission-critical application to move to the cloud.
- It is not clear whether the effect of the “cloud first” policy issues at the end of last year but the then federal CIO is going to trigger a sustainable move to the cloud or just a series of relatively minor, compliance-driven migrations.
- If the market evolves slower than expected, there are questions about the return on the quite significant investments that some vendors are making.
- There is still a good level of interest, but there has been very little progress in terms of policies and strategies.
- On the other hand, there is a better understanding that consumer social media do compete with corporate collaboration platforms, and that blocking access to the former is not a sustainable proposition.
- Involvement oh Human Resources in social media policies is still very marginal, and those most concerned remain IT and communications
Open Government and Open Data
- Interest on this topic has dropped dramatically (at least in the context of our Symposium). I had a single one-on-one scheduled on the subject, with a non US client, and it turned into a no-show.
- In one of our panels we discussed one of our draft predictions about the increase of open performance dashboard: the audience was almost evenly split between those who feel this is unavoidable, and those who were raising several concerns about the possible drawbacks of this level of transparency, especially during tough times.
All in all, a great experience as usual, and an invaluable source of data points for my research.