Ovum finds government agencies prioritise “digital-first” IT strategies to facilitate web-based citizen self-service

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London, 25 November 2013 – In the next 18 months, web-based self-service will be the top global IT investment area for government agencies, backed by stronger investment in CRM, compliance management, and collaboration tools. This is according to Ovum’s ICT Enterprise Insights, which finds these priorities especially pronounced in infrastructure and tax/revenue agencies, yet reveals a surprising lack of interest in “bring your own device” (BYOD).

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With Ovum forecasting IT spend by government agencies to reach US$248bn by 2017, it seems governments are beginning to remove their austerity-tinted lenses and instead look at channel shift as a way of taking cost out of the system while increasing customer engagement. Ovum’s ICT Enterprise Insights – the largest survey of senior IT executives ever conducted* – finds that web-based self-service is prioritised by more than 50 percent of global government agencies, and more than 60 percent of global tax/revenue and infrastructure agencies. However, the relative investment priorities are different when segmented by geography and agency type. Of those surveyed in North American defence agencies, for example, 65 percent place compliance management at the top of the agenda, with cross-departmental collaboration tools and geographic information systems tied in second place.

“The popularity of web-based citizen self-service reinforces the digital services strategies being adopted by many governments in 2013, with a focus on the ability to complete transactions online or on mobile devices and on citizen-centric processes,” explains Nishant Shah, senior analyst at Ovum. “However, it’s important that self-service provision via the Web is not separate from a strategy encompassing self-service via mobile devices, and a more general strategy of using data more effectively. Granular, whole-of-government roadmaps that aim to improve digital capabilities are imperative here. Indeed, an IT strategy is not a digital strategy.”

A surprising revelation from the survey data is the relatively low investment priority given to BYOD, even compared to categories such as interactive voice response or payments. According to Ovum, this is because BYOD either requires less investment or is actively ignored, with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach preferred instead. Government and healthcare currently have the lowest rates of BYOD utilization across verticals (around 50 percent), but it will become more important as older generations retire and millennials take their place.

“Government has clearly been late to the game here, but we predict BYOD will become a higher priority in the next few years. If the goal is for government to provide ‘customers’ better services on any device at any time, its own workforce must be included,” concludes Shah.

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