Global IT spending by government organisations is projected to total $449.5 billion in 2013, a marginal 0.1% decline from 2012, according to the latest forecast by Gartner.
The forecast includes spending by government sector organisations on hardware, software, IT services and telecommunications.
Analysts revised the growth rate downward from the previous forecast of 0.2% growth, as government agencies continue to struggle against weak economic development.
Despite decreased spending in some areas, a recent worldwide government IT spending priorities survey by Gartner indicated that mobile technologies, IT modernisation and cloud computing are the top three focus areas for 2013.
Strong interest continues to grow in professional services and big data, Gartner said.
“Cloud computing, in particular, continues to increase compared with prior years, driven by economic conditions and a shift from capital expenditure to operational expenditure, as well as potentially more important factors such as faster deployment and reduced risk,” said Christine Arcaris, research director at Gartner.
“Other areas, such as data centre consolidation, are lower on the list than in previous years, perhaps demonstrating that they may have met resistance in a more strategic roll-out. Vendors should be ready to reposition offerings according to these changing market dynamics.”
Survey respondents reported that they are adopting public and private cloud-based services at an increasing rate, with 30-50% of organisations planning for, or having an active IT services contract within the next 12 months.
While the focus initially was on software-as-a-service (SaaS) implementation, future rollouts will include infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
As the top priority, mobility is increasing in importance among government agencies worldwide. Demand is strongest in government agencies with more decentralised staff and those that have a large field workforce or specialised needs (such as border patrol agents, inspectors and social workers) and that benefit from mobile investments, the research specialist said.
This next wave of technology adoption will develop over time, as agencies replace existing hardware with new mobile infrastructure and devices, it said.
The survey showed that momentum is building for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programmes, but questions continue. Of the organisations surveyed, 52% said employees are allowed to bring their own smartphones to work, and 50% can use their own laptop, followed by tablets at 38%.
“Government organisations have increased big data spending for improper payment systems, indicating the desire to tackle fraud, waste and abuse within agencies, as well as target upfront errors in revenue collection,” said Arcaris.
“While agencies are assessing how to manage, leverage and store big data, not many have addressed the challenges associated with the utilisation of content and the issues associated with merging large amounts of data onto a single platform.”