While researching for the Keating Report 2011 forecast on government budgets, spending, construction and technology, it has become clear that governments are upgrading their IT resources, even on tight budgets.

In a government market analysis compiled near the end of 2010, IDC Government Insights Research Director Shawn P. McCarthy said that, "IT hardware spending in general has been growing for government — with growth of over 8 percent between 2009 and 2010 for network equipment, and a strong spike this year (up to 12 percent) for personal computers." McCarthy noted that there is significant demand for PC upgrades because government has put off that kind of spending for a few years.

In the report, "Goverment IT Spending — The Sky Isn't Falling, But Markets Are Shifting," McCarthy said that in the government market, IT services spending is growing faster than either hardware or software. IDC Government Insights is based in Framingham, Mass.

The economic and political landscape in 2011 presents challenges to governments that have less money available to meet IT challenges, said Jim Pruden, senior director of federal sales at Redwood City, Calif.-based Informatica Corp. His company provides data integration software and services to organizations, including governments.

"As governments squeeze inefficiencies, data center and application consolidations will increase, and the adoption of cloud computing will continue its rapid acceleration," Pruden told govpro.com. "Data delivery and consumption will proliferate, with many new forms emerging as mobile devices are leveraged. Snapping together solutions through existing applications, cloud applications, leveraging social networking and a variety of widgets will become the norm, as long development cycles will not be feasible under the fiscal climate."

In 2011, intra- and inter-agency sharing will be critical to government initiatives that drive transparency and accountability, said Pruden. He also predicts that IT security threats from government insiders will rise considerably in 2011. "Understanding the identity of those outside the firewall as well as those inside the firewall is critical. Proactive monitoring will increase, as there is simply too much data and too few analysts. Government will need to be agile and responsive and correlate vast amounts of data sources and understand behavior and emotion."

The second-half 2011 forecast on government budgets, spending, construction and technology will be posted soon at govpro.com and will appear in the June issue of Government Product News.