Government CIOs around the globe facing similar challenges

Most public sector CIOs say organizational disruption and funding shortfalls impede their ability to innovate and articulate mission value of IT, Gartner survey finds.

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Government CIOs around the globe are being challenged by organizational disruption, budget shortfalls, and a lack of vision, according to the 2020 Gartner CIO Survey.
 
Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they faced organizational disruption during the past four years and 52% said funding shortfalls are a problem. 

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Most government CIOs (56%) anticipate no budget increases this year and  35% report operating under "severe" cost pressures.
 
Private sector CIOs in all other industries also reported facing these same headwinds but not at the same level as government CIOs—just 47% of private sector CIOs reported organizational disruption and 31% reported funding shortfalls as major challenges.

Labor issues also are impacting government CIOs to a greater degree than their private sector counterparts.
 
Because of inflexible funding models, government CIOs also report not being as effective at anticipating and reacting to change. And, like their private sector counterparts, they struggle to clearly articulate the value of IT.
 
On the technology front, data and analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and cloud technologies are being reported as "game-changers" for government CIOs. 

Within the next 12 months, the majority of the respondents said they will focus on deploying or enhancing cybersecurity (84%), AI (37%), and robotic process automation (33%).

To meet these challenges head-on, Gartner recommends that government CIOs: 

  • Implement business relationship management strategies that clearly communicate the value that IT is delivering in terms of mission outcomes.
  • Incorporate information and technology enablers into business-led investment proposals to address overall cost optimization concerns and improve mission effectiveness.
  • Clearly communicate the cost and risk of proposed cuts to IT budget as they relate to service delivery, program outcomes and the organization's reputation.
  • Improve resourcing capacity and resilience through succession planning, cross-training, and personal development programs for the workforce.
  • Deliver IT in the form of products with planned iterations and clear performance metrics to overcome cyclical leadership transitions and better ensure continuity of IT strategy.
  • Jumpstart legacy modernization and reduce technical debt with XaaS delivery models.

On the plus side, government CIOs and their private sector counterparts report they foster positive work environments that provide a strong sense of purpose and identity for their employees. 

Government CIOs report a more diverse workforce but lag when it comes to fostering a culture of innovation.  

The 2020 Gartner CIO Survey was conducted online from June 2019 through August 2019 among Gartner Executive Programs members and other CIOs. A total of 130 government CIOs took part in the survey.

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