Legacy Systems Deter Govt CIOs From Going Digital

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 07, 2015


Government organizations worldwide are attaining success with the use of digital technologies such as mobile, cloud, analytics among others. However, the heavy presence of legacy technologies in government is hampering CIOs’ efforts to digitize their organizations, according to a Gartner survey which polled over 2,800 CIOs worldwide on digital opportunities and threats.

Legacy roadblock

“The burden of legacy technologies in government puts innovation on a path of incremental improvement when agility and quick solution delivery is expected,” said Rick Howard, research director at Gartner. He recommends that to demonstrate ‘digital now, digital first’ leadership in government, CIOs must flip their approach to managing IT from the inside-out perspective of legacy constraints to the outside-in view of citizen experience. It’s all about starting with the digital world and what is possible — thinking cloud, mobile and situational context first — and then considering, ‘How do we get there from here?’ using information and technology.”

For example, securing the funds to invest in legacy modernization may be a stretch, especially for those at the federal or national level where a majority of CIOs are dealing with decreasing IT budgets. However, IT budget figures also reflect a strong regional variation. For example, 27 percent of the SLR government CIOs surveyed in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region indicate their IT budgets are declining, whereas only 9 percent of the SLR government CIOs in North America report the same. Similarly, the issue of declining budgets appears to be particularly acute in all tiers in the Asia/Pacific region.

According to Howard, by shifting the management and provisioning of infrastructure to viable commercial vendors, government CIOs can better update IT management techniques that is essential in the digital age. For example, Cloud is one such technology which has has moved from a concept, to a possibility, to a viable option and, for a small minority of government CIOs, is now first choice when a project comes along.

The silver lining

Gartner states that IT vendors are moving fast in the direction of cloud-based service models. At the same time, government agencies are becoming more comfortable with cloud solutions based within their regional or national borders for reasons of subscription pricing and increased business agility.

“With cost, value and security as top considerations, government CIOs should begin with the assumption that public cloud is the preferred deployment option and then, if necessary, work back from public cloud to the cloud, co-location or on-premises option that provides the best fit for their business environment,” said Howard.

Accordingly, improving business intelligence and analytic capabilities continues to consume the attention of CIOs across the board. The opportunities to enhance government services will increasingly involve unstructured information, such as multimedia and social information. Given the rate of change in a digital business environment, it is essential for government CIOs to develop the capabilities to deal and experiment with forward-looking technologies, so as to move forward.