Government chief information officers will focus their technology investments on data analytics and cybersecurity, according to a new Gartner survey.

Gartner’s 2019 CIO Agenda Survey said this increased focus on data reflects CIOs’ acknowledgment that artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics will be the top “game-changing” technologies for government in 2019.

Rick Howard, VP analyst at Gartner said, “Taking advantage of data is at the heart of digital government — it’s the central asset to all that government oversees and provides.

“The ability to leverage that data strategically in real time will significantly improve government’s ability to seamlessly deliver services, despite increased strain on finite resources.”

From the survey, when asked what are the government changing technologies, 27 per cent of CIOs said AI, 22 per cent said data analytics and 19 per cent said cloud technologies.

Howard said, “AI introduces new insights and delivery channels that will enable governments to scale in magnitudes not previously possible.

“This will allow reallocation of valuable human resources to more complex processes and decisions.”

Among government respondents, 10 per cent have already deployed an AI solution, 39 per cent intend to deploy in the next one to two years, and an additional 36 percent intend to deploy an AI solution within the next two to three years.

Technology investment

Gartner found 43 per cent of those surveyed found business intelligence, data analytics and cyber/information security the top technology investment for 2019.

They were followed by cloud services/solutions at 39 per cent dropping from first place last year to second overall.

Howard said the fact that cybersecurity remains an area of projected increased spending reflects government’s recognition of its role as the steward of public data, with secure transactions now table stakes for governments in a digital world.

He explained, “In today’s digital world, cyberattacks are highly visible, increasingly malicious and costly, and they erode the public’s trust.

“Government CIOs have steadily increased their prioritisation of cybersecurity over the years and have gained executive commitment to vigilance in ensuring that ever-evolving malicious attacks and threats are mitigated to the greatest extent possible.”

Business priorities

When it comes to strategic business priorities, the survey found that 18 per cent of CIOs across all levels of government have prioritised digital initiatives again this year as key to achieving mission outcomes, compared with 23 per cent from all other industries.

The next three business priorities for government are industry-specific goals at 13 per cent, operational excellence also at 13 per cent and cost optimisation/reduction at 8 per cent.

When asked what stage their digital initiative was at, 29 per cent of government respondents say their organisations are scaling and refining their digital initiatives — the tipping point at which a digital initiative is considered mature.

Howard said, “To meet increased demand and evolving expectations of citizens for effective and efficient services, government must continue to enhance its digital maturity.

“Government CIOs clearly recognise the potential of digital government and have started developing new digital services, but now need to take digital beyond a vision to execution through digital leadership.”

Despite the focus on digital, only 17 per cent of government CIOs plan to increase their investment in digital business initiatives, compared with 34 percent of CIOs in other industries.

The report said, while government CIOs demonstrate clear vision in the potential for digital government and its emerging technologies, 45 per cent report they lack the IT and business resources required to execute. 

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