Informing government decision makers through research & industry insights.

Federal Tech Execs Pessimistic About White House IT Priorities

April 9, 2014 - Last week, the White House surprised many supporters and critics alike when it announced that the Affordable Care Act had met its original target of enrolling seven million Americans in federally-funded health insurance exchanges by the March 31 deadline – exceeding the figure projected by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office by over one million enrollees.

In the weeks before the April 1 announcement, it is likely that anxiety surrounding the flawed Healthcare.gov rollout was felt nowhere more acutely than among federal officials working to execute the Obama Administration’s information technology goals.

From March 13-25, 2014, Government Business Council and Nextgov polled senior federal IT managers (those at the GS-14, GS-15, and SES level) on their attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs surrounding the Obama Administration’s major IT initiatives. Overall, their attitudes reflected a certain pessimism as to whether their agencies can keep pace with the administration’s ambitious agenda, given high public expectations and declining budgets.

Of the 74 executive respondents, only 8.1% are “very confident” in their agency’s ability to successfully execute the administration’s IT priorities, while 32.4% indicate that they are “not confident.” 

These findings perhaps indicate a preference for scaling-back expectations and favoring incremental improvements to government IT services, over revolutionary changes to the federal IT landscape. For instance, when asked to rank their agency’s most important goals in 2014, “IT service quality and accountability” was the top priority by a wide margin, as opposed to more forward-looking goals like the adoption of mobile technology, cloud computing, and open data. 

Perhaps less surprisingly, respondents cite a “lack of funding” as the greatest challenge to the success of the administration’s goals, noting that IT budgets have been largely flat since 2012. Nevertheless, several officials responded that fiscal constraints were less worrisome than the inability to match mission with personnel, particularly when it comes to utilizing the skills of younger and more tech-savvy federal employees.

While it is difficult to determine whether negative perceptions of Healthcare.gov might have affected federal tech managers’ attitudes, it will be interesting to see whether this pessimism remains stable even as the Obamacare enrollment saga ostensibly recedes from front-page headlines over the course of 2014.

Government Business Council and Nextgov will explore these and other questions further in our quarterly poll series. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts on the future of government IT, please take a moment to join our Federal Tech Insiders Panel.

Fill out my online form.

- Chris Cornillie, Research Analyst

Image: Flickr user Willow Burns

Disclaimer

This post is written by Government Business Council; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Government Executive Media Group's editorial staff. For more information, see our advertising guidelines.

FROM OUR SPONSORS

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.