Web, security, wireless technologies rivet CIOs

A newly released survey of CIOs confirmed that Web issues and security, followed by wireless technologies, have held on to their positions as the leading technologies that concern federal IT professionals. The 10th annual version of the Association for Federal Information Resource Management Top Ten Challenges survey also found that identity management mandates and service-oriented architecture issues have jumped to greater prominence in CIOs' concerns.

The AFFIRM Survey was conducted by e-mail beginning in mid-November. Out of more than 1,000 responses solicited, the organization received 96 survey responses. The survey included a range of questions that has remained largely unchanged over the past decade, and shown a significant level of continuity in CIOs' concerns.

For example, the 2005 survey showed that CIOs identified skills gaps in the federal workforce in program management, project planning and project control, picked by 18 percent, 17 percent and 12 percent of respondents as the leading knowledge gaps. That largely corresponded with responses from the 2004 survey, in which the CIOs picked the same three skills gaps in the same order by ranges of 16 percent, 15 percent and 12 percent.

But CIOs' confidence in the administration's lines of business and e-government projects has fallen significantly since 2004, according to the AFFIRM survey. Last year, 44 percent of respondents cited the programs as successful and 41 percent as somewhat successful while only 10 percent said they had not made significant progress. This year, only 15 percent termed the programs successful, while 56 percent said they were somewhat successful and 26 percent did not see progress in the Office of Management and Budget programs.

Wars and hurricanes also bode ill for the CIOs, according to the survey. Sixty-three percent of them forecast that the hostilities abroad and the natural disasters would crimp their budgets, while 14 percent said the special events would cause no change in IT spending and nine percent said the events would increase their technology spending. Seven percent of the respondents said their funds were frozen and three percent predicted no impact from the special events.

The CIOs ranked Internet, intranet and Web applications as their leading critical technology area, while security infrastructure came in second, wireless technology third, identity management ranked fourth and service-oriented architecture appeared on the list for the first time as the fifth-ranked technology. In 2004, the four top-ranked technologies were security infrastructure; Internet, intranet and Web applications; wireless technology; and data mining, in that order. Last year, identity management technologies ranked 14th on the AFFIRM survey list.

Wilson P. Dizard III is a senior writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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