Federal Manager's Daily Report

Federal finance, IT and procurement leaders largely agree on the importance to agency missions of upgrading agency IT and that changes in law and increases in budgets are pointing favorably in that direction, a study has found.

The study, based on a survey of 300 federal finance, IT, and procurement decision makers, is the latest to call for action to deal with both outdated legacy systems and the way the government deals with them. It was sponsored by MeriTalk, a public-private partnership, and the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council.

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It said that across those fields, 83 percent agreed that “future mission success depends on IT modernization” particularly in cybersecurity, data management, infrastructure and advanced analytics. Further, while “most agree modernization efforts have reached a tipping point” because of initiatives including cybersecurity executive orders, the cloud first policy, the MGT Act and the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act.

Three-fourths expect increases in IT modernization budgets and two-thirds agree their agency is tackling IT modernization in a more integrated, holistic way than before, it said. However, only 28 percent said they are very confident in how their agency is preparing employees for the future of government IT.

There were differences according to the roles of those surveyed. “For example, 71 percent of federal IT leaders say strengthening cybersecurity is a top priority versus 45 percent of federal finance leaders,” it said. And while 43 percent of finance decision makers agreed that “wholesale change in federal IT is feasible and is happening now,” just 27 percent of IT leaders and 24 percent of procurement leaders said the same.