“Spring has sprung in state and local government,”said Todd Sander, executive director of the Center for Digital Government, while speaking at the Beyond the Beltway 2014 conference in McLean, Va., on Monday.
Fiscal year 2013 was the third consecutive year for which officials forecast revenue growth. Even more promising, fiscal year 2014 revenues are expected to grow more than 6 percent, Sander said.
“Spending is projected to rise in 40 states and the District of Columbia and [come] back to pre-recession levels,” he said.
So what IT projects and technologies will the public sector be investing in? A Center for Digital Government survey shows the top priorities for states are:
- Shared services
- Budget and cost control
- Health care
- Data center consolidation
- Virtualization (servers, desktop, storage, applications)
- Broadband and connectivity
- Social media
- IT hiring and retention
Local government priorities are a bit different, perhaps because they’re more aligned with service delivery. The top issue among local governments is open government/open data/business intelligence; the second is budget and cost control; and mobility and mobile apps take the third slot. Joe Morris, lead analyst for the Center for Digital Government, said health and human services represents one of the most active areas of spending for many CIOs. Overall, this segment drives $23 billion in potential IT spending. This is in part to address the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion.
For finance and administration departments, the “silver tsunami” of retiring staff will pose a challenge for many. Expect to see heavy investments in analytics and Big Data to reduce fraud, as well as initiatives to eliminate paper payment systems.
Justice and public safety are expected to spend $7.1 billion. “Next-generation 911 is getting more traction, and FirstNet is moving a little slower as they wait for federal guidance,” Morris said. Areas of investment include school and public space safety, improved case management, and field connectivity and radio upgrades.
“They’re looking for that all-in-one device to improve situational awareness and officer safety,” he said. The challenge in that segment is decreased federal funding.