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Top Barriers to Federal Digitization are Budget and Security Concerns


Last week, we took a look at the federal government’s progress toward workplace digitization. According to many employees, digital tools and services have proven to be a valuable asset to internal collaboration and customer service; however, in spite of this validation, agencies remain seemingly reluctant to develop these resources. GBC survey results suggest that this disparity between employee feedback and organization response stems from two main obstacles: limited budget and security/privacy concerns.

Only 25% of respondents believe their agency spends an appropriate amount on digital tools and services, and in order to more effectively confront the financial barrier, agencies might consider working with experienced budgeting and contracting officers when implementing services – this can help properly divert funds, streamline the research and development phase, and ensure that deadlines are reached. Security concerns must also be addressed prior to integrating a new technology; agency leaders should take care to consult the appropriate security, privacy, and legal officers on the nature of the data that will be managed by digital tools.

In addition to addressing budgeting and security concerns, agencies can support the construction of a digital infrastructure by actively recruiting employees with experience creating and managing digital tools – a significant number of respondents reported a dearth of employees with the requisite digital skills:

Finally, the study indicates that organizations should enhance efforts to communicate their digital plans to employees – 64% of respondents disagree or don’t know whether their agency leadership has articulated a clear strategy for digital delivery.

Overall, while agencies have taken some steps to incorporating digital tools and services, there is much left to be done. The above recommendations, along with other guidelines from the 2014 U.S. Digital Services Playbook, will allow agencies to more effectively complete the transition to a digital government.

Methodology: GBC deployed a survey to a sample of Government Executive, Nextgov, and Defense One online and print subscribers in September 2014. The 396 respondents were senior-level federal employees, including those of GS/GM-11 to 15 grade levels and members of the Senior Executive Service. Click here to see the full report.


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