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Gartner points to government lag on digitalisation



New international CIO survey shows government behind the private sector in digital initiatives spend and is working with older legacy applications portfolios

Governments around the world are spending a lower percentage of their IT budgets on digital initiatives than the private sector, and that includes the UK, according to international IT analyst company Gartner.

Its new worldwide survey of chief information officers, in which it spoke with more than 2,500 responsible for $292 billion in IT spending, has shown that government organisations are spending 21% on digitalisation – as opposed to more routine functions – compared with 33% for the private sector.

Looking forward to next year, the top performing organisations anticipate spending 43% on digitalisation while for government the figure is just 28%.

Speaking to UKAuthority, Gartner research vice president Rick Howard (pictured) said the UK trend is in line with that internationally.

“CIOs in UK government, like others around the world, are being hampered by the legacy applications portfolio they are attempting to manage,” he said.

“More than 50% of the applications portfolio is between eight and 27 years-old, compared with the top performing organisations in public and private sector for which the figure is about 42%. In many cases it’s about 10 points higher and not up to what you need for a society that is increasingly digital.

“It’s very difficult to achieve digital transformation when managing a legacy application portfolio of that age.”

Lacking investment

He said the UK public sector is similar to others in having lacked the necessary levels of investment and needing more digital skills and leaders to deliver higher value and better outcomes from its digital estate.

"This has to be addressed head on," he added. "Government CIOs in 2017 have an urgent obligation to look beyond their own organisations and benchmark themselves against top performing peers within the public sector and from other service industries. They must commit to pursuing actions that result in immediate and measurable improvements that citizens recognise and appreciate."

The survey also reveals that, internationally, government CIOs anticipate a 1.4% increase in their IT budgets this year compared with an average of 2.2% across all industries.

Howard said they have to respond by pressing for larger IT budgets to reduce their organisations’ business costs and to improve the performance of government programmes.

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