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The 6 Biggest Federal IT Trends Coming in 2013


The Government Business Council, the research division of Government Executive, has taken on the task of identifying the biggest technology trends in the federal government for 2013. We combed through our archives of research reports, issue briefs, surveys, focus groups, and case studies to identify which areas have received the most investment from government and if they will continue to be important for technologists in 2013. Upon great reflection and much debate, we settled on six technology innovations.

Each of our six areas had their breakout moments in the past few years, but 2013 is where we will see ideas harden and plans executed. Here is a sneak peak of our upcoming report.

  • Big Data Several new Government initiatives including President Obama’s Research & Development Initiative have increased the focus on leveraging the potential of Big Data. Given the traction Big Data has made, agencies are starting to prepare its workforce for handling massive amounts of digital information. However, only 5% of the federal workforce is poised to handle large data sets and recent work has shown numeracy is a prolific problem in the United States. How will your agency cope?
  • Data Center Consolidation Federal data centers have been gaining a lot of traction lately, mostly because the OMB has targeted them for mass closures. Be that as it may, data center optimization will likely take over where consolidation has left off. Green data centers will be gaining more traction in 2013 and beyond, and not just because it will be more efficient.
  • Mobility Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) has been the topic of conversation in both the federal and private sectors but conversations are shifting to Bring-Your-Own-Everything (BYOE) policies instead. Bringing mobile phones to work is just the start for federal agencies. But is this model sustainable?
  • Cybersecurity On October 11, 2012, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta gave a speech at the Intrepid, Air and Space Museum in New York where he stated “cyberspace is the new frontier.” There is a growing focus on creating the processes to preempt cyber threats on federal IT systems. In 2013, there will be a move to create minimum standards for federal IT infrastructure and prepare the federal workforce to take on this new need.  
  • Cloud Computing The Federal Risk and Authorization (FedRAMP) has streamlined the process for agencies who want to move to the cloud, but some setbacks have slowed progress. As more agencies move their operations to the cloud, the conversation is going to shift from the ‘how’ to the ‘what now’. Total cost of ownership will be assessed, thereby providing new dilemmas for the federal IT community.
  • Health IT Innovating the health IT space is on the to-do list for many federal agencies. However, lack of resources has kept agencies from taking the next step. Crowdsourcing, or relying on end-users to innovate, has been used to make-up for shortfalls. Read our report to see what the public has created.  

What technology trends do you anticipate in 2013?

Learn from experts, innovators and your peers about the impact these trends will have on the future of government programs and your ability to meet citizen's needs. Join us on December 3 in Washington DC for Nextgov Prime, the defining event in the federal technology landscape. Learn more at


Dana Grinshpan is the Research Manager for the Government Business Council (GBC), the research division of Government Executive, where she specializes in primary research development and survey instrument creation. Prior to joining GBC, she worked for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), assisting in the research and writing of work on South Asian regional cooperation. She has a Master of Arts in international security and political economics from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude from Ohio State University where she holds a B.A. in international studies with a minor in Arabic.

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