Budget Fears To Plague Public Sector IT in 2011

IT budgets remain the biggest single challenge for public sector IT managers in 2011, according to new research seen exclusively by E-Government Bulletin.

The survey was conducted by IT solutions and consultancy company Frontier Technology, with results from around 6,300 people in public sector IT management, extracted from a wider sample of 22,000 across all sectors http://bit.ly/ieP4BL

It found that 48% of public sector respondents envisaged tight budgets to be their biggest challenge in 2011, with 38% also citing it as their biggest difficulty throughout 2010. Reduced budgets were also found to be the biggest current challenge for IT efficiency in the public sector (44%).

Gareth Jones, Business Development Manager at Frontier Technology, told E-Government Bulletin that budget concerns and government cuts to public sector IT budgets will impact negatively on public sector IT over the coming year. “The cuts have been quite savage. This leaves the public sector in a position where they can’t run new initiatives going forward, which is slightly contradictory, as many of these initiatives to reduce cost require an upfront investment, but if you don’t have the budget for that in the first pace you stay where you are.”

Other key findings include that some 43% of public sector bodies still do not yet use the technique of server or desktop ‘virtualisation’, compared to only 30% of private sector bodies. Jones also said that the public sector’s slow take-up of virtualisation was surprising, as the concept is increasingly being used as a method of reducing hardware costs. However, 26% of public sector organisations claimed to be investing in virtualisation over the next year to reduce costs.

Only 10% of public sector respondents said they were planning to use cloud computing technology as a cost-cutting measure in the next year. This, said Jones, was due both to a reluctance to invest in hardware and security concerns. The latter was “self-defeating”, as the cloud model actually offers increased levels of data security, he said.