2009: A year for technology in government, Microsoft FutureFed

Microsoft has launched a very insightful blog about government technology called FutureFed, and it is definitely worth checking out. Here’s their latest post on trends in government IT.

The year ahead promises to be an exciting one for government IT. At all levels, a new Administration on the national scene will influence directions, mandates, and priorities around how governments operate on the IT front. As such, there are a number of underlying needs and trends that will shape adoption and growth this year. These include:

* Expectations of increased access to information.
* Transparency and government accountability.
* Optimized, efficient, and sustainable IT infrastructure and services.
* Flexibility to deliver on-demand IT services.
* Appropriate privacy controls.
* Needs of a younger and more mobile government workforce.
* Increasing public-private partnerships in people, process, and technology.

From these needs, we believe there will be at least five top IT trends that will result. The first of these, communities and social computing, are central to the promise of Web 2.0 and will lead to more citizens becoming active participants and collaborators with their government. Web 2.0 concepts and practices will also help to attract and retain a younger and more mobile workforce—an area of growing importance as the workforce grays across the country.

A second valuable trend, virtualization, will lead to the consolidation of current government IT infrastructures, many of which are overtaxed and bloated, and will enable on-demand, flexible, and cost-efficient IT services.
An area that will see a breakthrough in 2009 is cloud services, which offer on-demand, always up-to-date foundational and finished services delivered over the Web. Not only will cloud computing help to mitigate the costs usually associated with the migration to newer versions of software, but also they will offer guaranteed Service Level Agreements for uptime, performance, and help desk. The right cloud services for a government agency should respect and meet government-specific data protection and privacy requirements, should be required to keep government data in U.S. data centers, and should route government network traffic only within the United States.

A fourth trend that will come to fore in the government space in 2009 will be business intel/business analytics, or information intelligence. Using easily accessible, searchable, and transparent information, agencies will leverage information intelligence to more easily uncover and create insights from mining and analyzing data.

The greening of IT will continue to be a trend through 2009, and it is an underlying factor for and benefit of many of the other trends we’ve mentioned. Not only does an emerging green IT agency lifestyle enable telework and mobility, but also it helps with the consolidation of infrastructure, while increasing availability of IT services, leveraging cloud services for their advantages in scale and power consumption, and tapping Information and analytics to continually increase efficiencies. The good news here is that we’re beginning to see critical mass, as government agencies have a key role in ensuring that green IT/sustainability underlies all they do.

What technology trends do you predict for 2009?

– Teresa Carlson, Microsoft Vice President of U.S. Federal Sales

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