The prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted what turned out to be an Achilles’ heel for global government systems: inefficient IT. Many governments are still grappling with the healthcare industry over vaccine distribution and other issues brought about by out-of-date software or ineffective digital communication. The ticking clock on fixing these problems has driven a steady rise in budgeting for IT solutions throughout federal agencies worldwide.
Analyst firm Gartner’s latest report says it’s a foregone conclusion that government IT spending will swell. This year, administrations are set to shell out an average of $483 billion for IT budgeting—an increase of 5% from 2020. “Governments are innovating at a quicker pace by adopting technology solutions for operational and mission critical needs. We are seeing innovative use of technology and data to control and respond to the pandemic, as well as provide financial and humanitarian assistance,” said Irma Fabular, Senior Research Director at Gartner.
The report’s categories for budgeting IT are telecom services, internal services, devices, data centers, and software. Software is estimated to grow the most, by up to 9%, with its application, infrastructure, and vertical-specific subdivisions. Spending for data center, device, and software segments are on track to outrun overall market growth for the year.
In the U.K., the Commission on Smart Government has proposed a uniform adoption of cloud technology and digital ID for government IT systems. The CSG is an offshoot of GovernUp, an independent consulting firm comprised of business leaders and former politicians. Its proposal prioritizes an investment in long-term financial security amid an unprecedented pandemic that has waylaid public sector progress. The allocation of resources for IT development and cloud implementation is an imperative use of the purse that will pay off far beyond the COVID era. The CSG hopes to have U.K. government data systems entirely cloud-dedicated by 2023.
India has certainly hedged its bets on IT as well—government spending there could settle at around $7.3 billion for the year, as Gartner predicts, and present an impressive growth of 9.4% from last year. India is conducting its 2021 census on a phone application, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the savings made from ditching pen and paper methods are practically incalculable. The rollout of this digital census, presented in 16 languages, will cost the Indian government the equivalent of $1.6 million U.S. dollars.
With spending rising around the globe, its is clear that IT is a universal priority, especially for the public sector. Global crises have made governments acutely aware of existing technological deficiencies, targeting new areas for increased funding and resulting in money and time saving innovations for critical functions.