Can fiscal 2012 budget balance cuts and new IT programs?

Despite slight increases in the fiscal 2012 federal IT budget requests from most civilian agencies, the primary budget driver is cost savings, according to a new assessment from the immixGroup’s Market Intelligence organization.

Agencies are emphasizing value measurement, process improvement, elimination of redundancy and duplication, and the adoption of new technologies to improve operations, the survey found.

Although continuing resolutions and ongoing budget cuts will have an impact, most federal IT spending requests are slightly ahead of 2011 levels, with buying trends expected to emphasize cybersecurity, cloud computing/virtualization and telework/mobile computing.

The 2012 Federal IT budget request is approximately $80.9 billion up from the $78.8 billion IT budget in 2011.

For 2012, 52 percent of the request is for the civilian sector and 48 percent is for defense. In part, because of the significant risks associated with mobile computing and cloud-based applications, cybersecurity will continue to top federal IT technology trends, the survey said.

Governmentwide, agencies are beginning to integrate security systems into mobile and cloud-based infrastructures.

Agencies will first develop risk-aware missions and business processes, followed by enterprise architecture with embedded security, and then implement continuous monitoring programs.

Cloud computing and virtualization also are emerging trends in federal IT spending, with $20 billion of the proposed $80 billion budget potentially targeted for cloud-computing migration.

Some 75 percent of civilian agencies are expected to be utilizing cloud technology in some capacity by the end of 2012, the immixGroup survey said. 

Teleworking and mobile computing are also among the most important new initiatives being considered by the federal government, with mobile Internet and e-mail usage surpassing desktop Internet and e-mail by 2014, the survey said.

Civilian agencies are phasing out bulky legacy systems and adopting more nimble, user-friendly applications to simplify telework.

As an example, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reported that it recorded about $20 million in real estate savings over the past 10 years because of telework.

Data center consolidation efforts also will be a key driver across federal agencies.

The changing role of federal CIOs is having a major effect on IT spending, the immixGroup study found.

In August 2011, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memo broadening the role of agency CIOs from policymaking and infrastructure maintenance, to true IT portfolio management. This will enable CIOs to overcome bureaucratic impediments to deliver enterprise-wide solutions, the survey said.

Also, the appointment of Steven VanRoekel as federal CIO will mean a continued focus on the 25 Point IT Reform Plan spearheaded by former federal CIO Vivek Kundra. VanRoekel can be expected to carry the “cloud first” initiative in the IT reform plan, with a goal of moving 20 percent of the federal IT enterprise to the cloud by 2015, the survey said.

Further information about the immixGroup federal IT budget briefing on Oct. 20, or to view an on-demand Webcast click here.

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