Data Management

Governments will beef up their IT spending next year, according to Gartner projections

Quashing technical debt could cost an estimated $588.9 billion in 2023.
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Whether or not a recession is around the corner, world governments plan to continue pouring money into IT and digital services, according to Gartner analysts. One key reason? Their existing tech is, in many cases, archaic.

Gartner forecasts government spending on IT to reach $588.9 billion in 2023, or a 6.8% year over year increase. One of the key priorities of many governments will be reducing technical debt—the accumulated cost of relying on less costly or legacy systems for expediency’s sake. One example of this is that the Government Accountability Office estimates that the US government spends more than half its $100 billion technology budget keeping existing systems in operation—many of them decades old.

“Government organizations are continuing to modernize legacy IT and invest in initiatives that improve access to digital services, as constituents increasingly demand experiences that are equivalent to online customer interactions in the private sector,” Gartner director analyst Daniel Snyder said in a press release.

Snyder added that the “total experience framework,” the market researcher’s buzzword for synchronizing improvements to customer experience and employee productivity, “will remain among the main drivers of IT spend in 2023.”

Gartner expects growth in all government IT spending categories except devices, projecting IT services and software to increase by 7.9% and 12.5% respectively. It noted that cloud migration, app modernization, and network security are among top government priorities, with a particular focus for their CIOs being the effective use of data.

Both the US and the UK, for example, have acknowledged the need to update legacy systems. The Register previously reported that the UK government plans to replace “red-rated” systems by upgrading the 50 most frequently used digital services by 2025. Congress is considering the Legacy IT Reduction Act, which would fund modernization of federal agencies over a five-year period, but no action has been taken on it since March 2022.

According to CNBC, recent waves of layoffs in the tech sector have created recruitment opportunities for US government agencies that have long struggled to compete with the private sector. Kurt DelBene, US Department of Veterans Affairs chief information officer, told the network he is seeking engineers and software designers who want to “really sink their teeth into designing and redesigning new systems,” though he acknowledged getting that talent will require streamlining the agency’s hiring process and creating special salary schedules.

“I think I’ll be able to hire every qualified person that comes our way that we have a role for,” DelBene added. “I’d love to get to a point where the only openings I have are from natural attrition.”—TM

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Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to software development and gaming, IT Brew delivers the latest news and analysis of trends shaping the IT industry, like only The Brew can.