Barriers Still Hindering Government Adoption of New Technologies
May 04, 2015

Suaad Sait

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Although nearly all government respondents (92%) in a new study by SolarWinds indicated that adopting significant new technologies is important to their agencies’ long-term success, significant barriers are still hindering progress.

IT plays a vital role in today’s federal agency operations, for everything from civilian-facing websites to military missions. But agencies can only progress and perform as quickly as IT and new technology enables them to. While technology adoption is a high priority in the public sector, offering more opportunity to streamline productivity and reduce cost, government IT organizations must ensure they are empowering IT pros to overcome barriers that they have traditionally faced in implementing and using that technology so they can see results right away.

While federal IT pros still face many barriers during procurement, deployment and implementation of new technology, over 90 percent of respondents said their agencies’ end-users were negatively affected by performance or availability issues with mission-critical technology in the last year.

Budget Constraints, End-User Impact Identified as Top Barriers to Technology Adoption

■ A majority (78%) of respondents cited budget limitations as their No. 1 barrier for IT adoption.

■ Only 7 percent of respondents indicated that their agency and end-users were not affected at all during the last significant new technology implementation.

■ Over half of the respondents also indicated that security/compliance concerns (55%), the need to continue supporting old, legacy technology (53%), and shortage of IT personnel (51%) were among their top barriers to adoption.

■ Other top barriers include the inability to convince decision makers of need and/or benefit (47%) and lack of IT empowerment (37%).

CIO Involvement Falls Short; More Budget, Staff and Time Still Needed

Empowering IT departments to overcome barriers and drive the success of their agencies and end users through technology adoption often starts with the CIO. While respondents’ perceptions of their CIOs are mostly positive, almost half of the respondents (47%) still need more or better resources such as budget, staff or time for projects.

■ Most IT pros consider the CIO’s primary role to be budget approvals (54%) and strategic council and guidance (47%), while only 38 percent noted that their CIO is involved in all areas of IT.

■ However, respondents indicated that they still need more or better training and development (31%), greater IT department autonomy (30%), stronger CIO support when liaising with other agency leaders (24%), more or better strategic counsel and guidance from the CIO (24%), and more timely CIO approvals (24%).

Survey Methodology: The annual SolarWinds IT Trends Report consists of survey-based research that explores trends, developments and movements related to and directly affecting IT and IT professionals. The findings of this year’s report are based on a survey fielded in December 2014, which yielded responses from 123 IT practitioners, managers and directors in the U.S. and Canada from the public sector.

Suaad Sait is EVP Products and Markets at SolarWinds.

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