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By 2023 50% of government IT staff will have roles that don’t exist today

06 Mar 2019

Gartner has released results from its latest survey related to government IT, revealing the meteoric changes that are underway.

Using the findings, Gartner has predicted that by 2023 50 percent of the roles that government CIOs will oversee do not even exist in government IT today.

The transition to digital government is snowballing, with 53 percent of digital initiatives in government organisations having already been moved from the design stage to early stages of delivering digitally-driven outcomes - this is up from 40 percent last year.

Furthermore, 39 percent of governments expect cloud services to be a technology area where they will spend the greatest amount of new or additional funding in 2019.

“These findings demonstrate that leadership has become more comfortable with cloud delivery models and has moved away from concerns regarding security and data ownership. The move to digital business means that the IT organisation needs to adapt to new skills requirements,” says Gartner research vice president Cathleen Blanton.

“In many governments, roles of chief data officers and cloud architects are already present. However, it is worth noting that 38 percent of government respondents did not introduce any new roles in 2018 due to insufficient resources, skills and cultural issues.”

Gartner says that in order to adapt to these new skill requirements, CIOs need to initiate a transformation process that results in new or changed roles - an example being that as cloud services become more prominent, the number of data centre management roles will decline.

Furthermore, the emergence of digital product management is changing how governments think about their services, and this will lead to the emergence of digital teams internally to design and deliver products.

Gartner believes that in the future, government IT will also accomplish more diversified tasks than today.

Public sector agencies will rely on government IT services to address inclusion, citizen experience and digital ethics. Those fields require new types of skill sets, such as researchers, designers and social scientists.

“Government CIOs must employ experts to model and explain how citizens and businesses will need to respond to regulations and policies, and what impact that will have on society, the economy and government revenues,” says Blanton.

Gartner says that in addition to this, government IT will need to work in parallel to assign new roles to support digital transformation and introduce emerging technologies, as artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of things (IoT) technologies advance, machine trainers, conversational specialists and automation experts will slowly but certainly replace experts in legacy technologies.

The foundation of Gartner’s predictions lie on the rise of ‘Anything-as-a-Service’ (XaaS), as the analyst giant believes by 2023 more than 80 percent of new technology solutions adopted by governments will be delivered and supported using an XaaS model.

XaaS summarises several categories of IT, including those delivered in the cloud as a subscription-based service. It also encompasses managed desktop, help desk and network services, voice over IP and unified communications.

“Adoption of XaaS models is increasing across all industries globally – primarily driven by cloud services - and government is no exception,” says Gartner senior director analyst Alia Mendonsa.

“The model offers an alternative to legacy infrastructure modernisation and investment. It’s a promising way to scale digital government, because it can provide small local offerings as well as nation-wide services.”

Despite this, Gartner says the XaaS model also comes with a host of new challenges for government CIOs.

In the early stages of adoption, business units may turn less to the IT department to deliver solutions as they are now able to acquire XaaS solutions without the involvement or the resources of IT. Gartner says this is a dangerous practice, as departments often lack the knowledge to negotiate complex contracts and individual departments may be independently acquiring duplicative capabilities already offered centrally - and then, of course, there’s the fact that as-a-service contracting is still immature.

“For this reason, CIOs must educate business units about the risks associated with this type of contracting and need to take an active role in negotiating these contracts wherever possible. Without the support and experience of their IT organisation, an XaaS solution can create significant risks to the organisation and the citizens it serves,” Mendosa concludes.

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