By Derek Johnson,
States frequently pay lip service to the importance of emerging technologies. But what IT tools and services do they most value?
Some of the best tools for ascertaining this — outside of Deltek’s contracting database — are the annual lists of top priorities and technologies released by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers. The two lists, which document expected state policy priorities and emerging technologies for the upcoming year, tap straight into the organization’s membership and can best be described as a look at what issues are keeping CIOs up at night. Prior lists successfully foreshadowed booms in cloud computing and cybersecurity contracting 12-18 months in advance.
Each year, Deltek tracks the newest versions of NASCIO’s lists and performs trend analyses on the past seven years of data. This year, we created a set of weighted rankings to track all priorities and technologies listed by state CIOs, ranking them by their relative importance and staying power from 2009-2015. This separates flashes in the pan (like “Green IT”) from IT projects that states truly value over time. Additionally, this data incorporates most of the Great Recession, highlighting which technology purchases may be more “recession-proof” than others.
During the past seven years, the top three categories — cloud computing services, security and consolidation optimization, respectively — have been interconnected, each fueling the rise of the other two. Consolidating and optimizing existing IT practices has been a yearly top three CIO priority since Deltek began tracking the survey in 2009. This year’s third-place ranking is its lowest ever, and the message from CIOs is clear: centralize, downsize and increase efficiency.
Cloud computing services offer a way to achieve all three of these goals. The ability to outsource the hosting of entire software systems or data warehouses to a third party allows states to reduce their use of computer servers, consolidate data centers, reduce personnel costs and reap a host of other cost-saving measures. Finally, if you’re going to jump onto the cloud bandwagon, you’re also going to inherit the number one headache that comes with it: security.
What about the “next” big contracting trend? Business intelligence and analytic tools appear to be a big priority for states in the next few years. Together, mobile services, networking and broadband weigh on the minds of CIOs, reaching sixth, seventh and 11th, respectively, in our aggregate rankings. Together these three priority technologies will drive a nationwide push for broadband Internet and wireless connectivity in the next five years.
The push to increase connectivity and build a mobile workforce is getting a full court press from all levels of government. In particular, federal programs like the Connect America Fund and Community Connect Grant are pushing millions of dollars to states and localities to purchase or build out their own fiber optic and wireless infrastructures. These factors should lead to a wave of state and local purchases for connectivity and broadband build-out services in 2015 and beyond.
Derek Johnson is an analyst for Herndon-based Deltek, which conducts analysis on the government contracting market and can be found at www.deltek.com .
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