Public Sector Challenged by IT Complexity
August 30, 2016

Pete Goldin
APMdigest

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Despite rapid adoption of new technologies to improve operations, a new survey from Clarus Research Group and Splunk found half of public sector IT professionals (51 percent) feel new IT technology paradigms, such as cloud and DevOps, are adding complexity to their organization rather than simplifying operations.

The findings also revealed that lack of resources remains a substantial problem for public sector. Selected by nearly half (44 percent) of respondents, public sector IT professionals cited insufficient IT resources (i.e. budget and personnel) as the biggest risk to their organization or agency over the next year.

While 71 percent of public sector IT professionals agree insights from IT data are important to their organization, the combination of increased complexity, limited resources and continued use of manual processes is making it difficult for public sector organizations to gain valuable insights from their IT data and achieve greater visibility into systems.

Additional findings include:

■ Lack of funding and budget constraints was selected by close to half (45 percent) of respondents as the top difficulty in managing IT operations.

■ Nearly four in 10 (38 percent) say complexity of IT systems and technology is a top difficulty in managing IT operations.

■ More than half (53 percent) of public sector IT decision makers feel their organization does not have end-to-end visibility across IT systems to foresee issues ahead of time, which often results in operational inefficiencies, delays and waste.

■ Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents revealed their organization is still using manual processes to gather information to solve issues and 58 percent admitted their troubleshooting is manual and ad hoc. Nearly half (48 percent) also say they either don’t have or don’t know if they have the ability to pinpoint problems because their systems are managed in silos.

IT data formats and ingestion is another obstacle public sector organizations face when trying to gain insights. According to the survey, half (50 percent) of public sector IT pros say data in different formats or types has been a problem when trying to diagnose IT issues, and 40 percent agreed that data ingestion and normalization is cumbersome and tedious. These challenges are undoubtedly affecting organizations’ abilities to be operationally and financially efficient. The vast amount of data and formats available make it difficult for public sector organizations to determine where to start and what is relevant to the problem.

The survey also revealed the IT technologies that public sector organizations will expand use of over the next few years. Server monitoring and analytics (74 percent) and network infrastructure monitoring analytics (71 percent) were the top IT solutions decision makers expect to expand more. In addition, nearly seven in 10 public sector IT pros (69 percent) said they expect to see use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions increase, including nearly nine of 10 (87 percent) federal national security respondents.

Methodology: Clarus Research Group surveyed 634 federal, state and local government and higher education IT decision makers. The survey was conducted on behalf of Splunk through online interviews in May 2016.

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