Tech Trends 2015:
A public sector perspective
The fusion of business and IT
Five macro forces have combined to drive enormous transformation: digital, analytics, cloud, the renaissance of core systems, and the changing role of IT within the enterprise. These forces are not just fueling innovation and giving rise to new business models – they are enabling historic advances in the business world and public sector alike.
Over the next 18-24 months, each of these trends could disrupt the ways public sector organizations engage with citizens, how work gets done, and how these agencies and IT organizations will interact and evolve. As with each annual issue of our Tech Trends report, this is part of an ongoing discussion, and we hope that the ideas we share help to inform your thinking.
Explore each of the 2015 trends below.
CIO as the chief integration officer
Large public sector agencies often have dozens of technical assets in place to support a disparate range of business processes – everything from email platforms and data centers to grant systems. Meanwhile, rising expectations regarding citizen engagement and digital government have put integration architectures in the spotlight. In this environment, CIOs have a unique vantage point, able to lead integration from an enterprise-wide perspective. After all, technology touches every department and government function – as well as, arguably, every business and citizen.
Read the trend, "CIO as the chief integration officer."
API adoption in the public sector is accelerating, where the many tools, rules, and interfaces for accessing data are now critical to enabling greater sharing and enhancing services. This push is being spurred along by initiatives such as the Federal government’s Digital Strategy and Federal Data Services Hub, both of which require sharing data through APIs. Other forces are also at work: citizen’s desire for more data, demands for improved customer service, and budget pressures to delivering more services with less funding.
Read the trend, "API economy."
The business purpose of government, in the view of many, is to protect the homeland, detect fraud, waste and abuse, and improve the lives of citizens. Ambient computing can help accelerate performance in each of these areas. When sensors are woven together with analytics, data integration platforms, and strong security, significantly greater business value can be achieved. This combination–ambient computing–creates a fabric that provides contextual intelligence with business purpose. It is a trend that many businesses are exploiting for competitive advantage. In the public sector, early adopters are already experiencing greater improvement in performance and efficiency.
Read the trend, "Ambient computing."
With multiple channels available and new tools helping make sense of constituent data, public sector IT leaders are in a strong position to improve citizen outcomes while also driving important performance improvements. Likewise, the technology services marketplace is burgeoning with new vendors, breakthrough solutions, and flexible platforms. This further presents opportunities for increased engagement in the public sector, as well as the chance to explore new revenue streams. Dimensional marketing tactics used in commercial sectors like retail and healthcare can be used by government today. Social networks and analytics are of special interest, but the broader possibilities are upending traditional views of citizen engagement across all levels of government.
Read the trend, "Dimensional marketing."
As the Everything-as-a-Service trend pushes beyond software and into infrastructure and operations, the virtualization of the entire IT stack–compute, network, storage, and security layers–becomes a possibility. Not only could this help lower costs, but it also could help improve speed, reduce the complexity of deploying and maintaining technology footprints, boost mission effectiveness in data sharing, and enhance cyber-incident response.
Read the trend, "Software-defined everything."
Many public sector CIOs today stand at a crossroads of large systems that have powered their agencies for decades and the latest wave of cloud, social, and mobile technologies. With a sharp focus on modernizing their legacy transactional systems, these CIOs are now thinking about ways that they can use lessons learned over time to inspire new services and growth at the core. This “core renaissance” involves plenty of coordination, integration, and alignment by public sector IT leaders.
Read the trend, "Core renaissance."
The public sector has historically led the way on adopting artificial intelligence (AI) in critical areas such as defense and national intelligence. However, despite their AI adoption, public sector organizations tend to lag behind their commercial counterparts, many of which have started using artificial intelligence and natural language processing to improve their operational and analytical capabilities in a wide variety of ways – both large and small.
Some of the most promising and valuable uses for analytics will come not from the field of artificial intelligence alone, but from “amplified intelligence.” That’s where the effort and intelligence of public sector employees can be augmented with machine-generated data-driven insights that can help improve people’s decision-making and efficiency.
Read the trend, "Amplified intelligence."
IT worker of the future
Senior public sector technology workers are leaving agencies en masse, and younger employees with new skills are taking their places. This changing landscape is forcing technology leaders to rethink their approach to talent management today and for the future. Everything is on the table–from the types of skills new workers must have to new service delivery and staffing models. Public sector leaders who are moving forward with transformative technologies are also turning their attention to the workforce that will be expected to deliver value from these investments. Hiring the right talent with the right skill sets presents a mix of big opportunities and long-simmering challenges.
Read the trend, "IT worker of the future".