While we're currently in a period of political transition, one thing is certain for federal agencies – many institutions will see an increased IT budget going into the new year. This can create additional funding for new technological initiatives, including those that seek to improve relations with constituents.
Federal technology use has been on the rise and has changed considerably in recent years. Open data platforms have made a splash, and have enabled individual citizens to have more access to the information they need. As budgets increase, we'll continue to see enhancements made in this arena. It's important to take a look into where budgets are shifting and how this money could potentially be spent by government organizations next year.
Federal budgets increase
According to a report from Nextgov, while the federal budget for IT solutions hasn't increased much in recent years – the largest boost here was an average of 7.1 percent during the Bush administration – 2017 budgets show a rise in funding for a number of key institutions.
"Most federal agencies will see boosts in IT spending under President Barack Obama's fiscal 2017 budget proposal, and the overall amount spent on computers, software, mobile devices and tech personnel across the federal government is set to top nearly $90 billion for the first time," Nextgov contributor Jack Moore wrote.
"How could federal organizations make the best use of their IT dollars heading into next year?"
Statistics show that overall IT spending will reach $88.7 billion in 2016, and next year's expenditures could surpass $88.9 billion. Much of these additional resources will be put toward IT budgets for the National Science Foundation ($21 million) and the Social Security Administration ($268 million).
But how could these, and other federal organizations, make the best use of their IT dollars heading into next year? Let's take a look at a few emerging federal IT trends that government agencies should consider taking advantage of:
Open data platforms to boost citizen engagement
Some of the biggest wins in recent years have been online solutions that enable transparency and access to self-help resources for constituents. The World Economic Forum contributor Zac Bookman noted that open data platforms have also been successful, and enable government agencies to make use of the wealth of data available to them.
"Open data platforms, such as data.gov and data.gov.uk, host troves of machine-readable government information that will allow communities to target and solve problems for which governments do not have the bandwidth," Bookman wrote. "These types of civic tech platforms will continue to grow, and they will be vital to the health of future democracies."
In order to achieve success here, though, government agencies must have the financial backing to create such platforms. With heightened budgets, making use of big data is just one of the ways organizations can leverage their budgets.
Experts predict that next year, communication solutions that support secure knowledge sharing among different agencies will also become more crucial. In this way, organizations will have access to the most up-to-date information, enabling them to better support their decisions and improve life for citizens.
"Tools designed specifically for government data will allow governments to embrace the inherent knowledge-sharing infrastructure of the internet," Bookman wrote. "When this happens, governments will not only be able to share information but services as well."
In many instances, an increased IT budget will help agencies shore up and improve the underlying infrastructure that underpins key processes like data gathering and communication. Items like network and connectivity resources as well as virtualized storage and data management are essential pieces of this puzzle.
When it comes time to improve government-level infrastructure, certain precautions must be made. iT1 Source is an expert here, and has the specific solutions government organizations require. Communication systems from Cisco and storage solutions from VMware are incredibly beneficial for government IT, and iT1 Source can offer these alongside our expert consulting. To find out more, contact us today.