In five years, half of government IT employees across the world will likely be doing functions that are non-existent today, said a report by technology research firm Gartner. The report also noted that around 80% of the technology solutions used by the governments would be on a service model called anything-as-a-service (XaaS).
This radical shift in roles is because 53% of the governments' digital initiatives have moved beyond the design or pilot stages to implementation, a substantial increase from 40% last year, the report noted.
Around 40% of the governments across the globe are expecting cloud services to receive the most funding, the press statement said, adding that the governments’ leadership is becoming increasingly comfortable with cloud delivery models and are not worried about data ownership or security.
Gartner arrived at the findings after surveying government chief information officers across the globe but it did not specify the number of participants or which countries were considered for the survey.
“The move to digital business means that the IT organisation needs to adapt to new skills requirements. In many governments, roles of chief data officers and cloud architects are already present,” said Cathleen Blanton, research vice-president at Gartner.
However, Blanton added that there are concerns regarding enough funding for these digital initiatives. "It is worth noting that 38% of government respondents did not introduce any new roles in 2018 due to insufficient resources, skills and cultural issues,” Blanton said.
According to Gartner, reskilling the governments' IT workers are important for the transformation process to move smoothly. For instance, as cloud services become more prevalent, the number of data centre management roles will decline. It also predicted that the emergence of digital product management is changing how governments think about their services, leading to the emergence of digital teams internally to design and deliver products.
Governments' IT departments are increasingly expected to deliver more diversified tasks to address issues like inclusion, citizen experience and digital ethics, which require new skillsets including research and social science, the report said. Artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of things (IoT) technologies advance, machine trainers, conversational specialists and automation experts will slowly but certainly replace experts in legacy technologies, it added.
“Government CIOs must employ experts to model and explain how citizens and businesses will need to respond to regulations and policies, and what impact that will have on society, the economy and government revenues,” Blanton said.
XaaS includes several categories of IT, including those delivered in the cloud as a subscription-based service. It also encompasses managed desktop, help desk and network services, voice over IP and unified communications. Gartner said that XaaS models are increasing in all sectors including the public sector driven by cloud services, which could also mean diminished roles for the IT department as most divisions will interact directly with the service provider.
“For this reason, CIOs must educate business units about the risks associated with this type of contracting and need to take an active role in negotiating these contracts wherever possible,” said Alia Mendonsa, senior director analyst at Gartner. “Without the support and experience of their IT organisation, a XaaS solution can create significant risks to the organisation and the citizens it serves,” she added.