New Study: Are State and Local Agencies Ready to Deploy the Big Five?

    Feb 25, 2014

    U.S. government agencies are looking to the “Big Five of IT” to help them respond to increasing responsibilities and decreasing funding, according to the new study “Big Five in Overdrive: Are State and Local Networks Ready?” by MeriTalk.

    In fact, most of the agencies said they plan to deploy over the next three years the “big five” IT initiatives:

    1. Data center consolidation
    2. Mobility
    3. Security
    4. Big data
    5. Cloud computing

    However, 94% also said their agency’s IT network is not fully prepared for the resulting demands.

    Government IT professionals generally buy into the promise of these initiatives to improve performance, productivity, and service, yet two-thirds (63%) admitted they would face moderate to significant network bottleneck risks, and 89% said they would need additional network capacity to just maintain current service levels.

    These aren’t the only likely ramification of the infrastructure imbalance created by unsynchronized adoption of these technologies, according to the report. Additionally, the IT professionals said their agency will face security risks (59%), bandwidth limitations (55%), storage limitations (44%), and network latency (40%).

    Surprisingly, the respondents aren’t asking for new budget or policy changes to overcome these challenges. They want better coordination. They believe better coordination would result in increased efficiencies (72%), shared best practices (59%), and better decision making (58%). Only two out of five agencies reported they are currently coordinating efforts across these initiatives.

    As always, executive support is critical. More than half (52%) believe their organization’s senior leaders do not understand the combined impact of these five initiatives on IT. When asked what they most need from their senior leaders, 54% of respondents said clear prioritization from leadership, 47% asked for regular coordination across all initiatives, and 44% cited the need for standardized documentation of infrastructure requirements.

    “If agencies don’t align their plans to the major IT trends driving our industry, both cost and risk will increase,” said Anthony Robbins, vice president public sector for Brocade, which underwrote the study. “The Big Five will fundamentally reshape how state and local governments can deliver services to citizens – better services at a lower total cost. Agencies can’t afford to wait, but without coordination and planning, network capacity will choke off any chance at delivering benefits.”

    The good news is that some agencies are laying the groundwork now. Almost half (45%) reported they have already taken steps to improve security measures. Many have also taken steps to improve network policies, reduce network latency, improve scalability, and add bandwidth.

    ARMA International believes that both public and private organizations that are addressing such network concerns will benefit greatly from addressing the information governance concerns at the same time. Clearly, some of the infrastructure requirements should be to ensure that:

    • The organization’s legal and regulatory requirements can continue to be met.
    • The organization’s information is properly protected from inadvertent and malicious destruction or access.
    • Information is readily available when required.

    ARMA has published a number of resources that can be valuable references:

    • Guideline for Outsourcing Records Storage to the Cloud
    • Mobile Communications and Records and Information Management (ARMA TR 20-2012)
    • Guideline for Outsourcing Electronic Records Storage and Disposition
    • Hot Topic (free download) – The BIG DATA Explosion: How to Extract Value, Minimize Risks – Making Big Data Work for You
    • Hot Topic (free download) – The Shift In Information Control - E-Discovery of Information in the Cloud and on Mobile Devices
    • Hot Topic (free download) – Making the Jump to the Cloud? How to Manage Information Governance Challenges

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