71% of public sector IT Directors struggling to meet organisational goals under current strategy

LondonSAP AG (NYSE: SAP). The next government needs to be more ambitious on technology – that is the clear message from CIOs and IT Directors in the public sector according to an opinion poll conducted on behalf of SAP. The SAP poll of 100 public sector IT directors and CIOs assessed their views on key ICT priorities for the new Government. It revealed that 43% of those surveyed believe that the current government ICT strategy is not ambitious enough with at least 71% saying that they need the Government to be more ambitious in order to be able to meet their own organisational goals.

Key findings from the poll included:

  • More guidance needed on aligning business and organisational goals
    The number one priority for IT Directors and CIOs is to receive more strategic guidance from the next Government on how they can better align ICT goals with organisational needs. They are also looking for more input on how to use ICT to connect with increasingly tech savvy citizens.
  • Reducing complexity and simplifying ICT processes are ‘quick wins’ for public sector CIOs
    Half of respondents believe that the key focus areas in the short term need to be on the simplifying and sharing of ICT business processes and on reducing complexity between different networks and applications. A third cited the need to reduce energy and power costs as a quick win.
  • Public sector CIOs and IT Directors are under pressure to do more with less
    With ICT budgets tightening, 45% of respondents regard a lack of key human and technology resources as their biggest obstacle to achieving ICT progress. However, 38% of respondents are positive that it is possible to be more innovative with less budget, suggesting that by streamlining processes and embracing new collaboration and on demand technologies they can achieve the necessary changes.

“It’s good to see that public sector IT Directors are optimistic about achieving change,” said Simon Godfrey Director of Business Development and Government Relations, SAP UK&I. “However, many are finding themselves in a catch 22 situation; they are faced with an increasingly demanding and tech savvy public but at the same time have decreasing IT resources and investment. The challenge is working out how they can achieve more with less.”

A pragmatic approach to innovation
Despite uncertain times ahead respondents are taking a pragmatic approach in pushing on with ICT programmes with only 15% saying that projects were being put on hold due to the general election. Respondents were not averse to using emerging technologies, although only if they met the business needs. 19% of respondents saw cloud computing as an immediate priority and 17% of the overall respondents regarded crowd sourcing as important to their organisation at this time. A third of respondents agreed that open source solutions will make ICT progressively less expensive. There was however some scepticism surrounding the Government’s proposed app store with 44% of respondents strongly agreeing that a fully functioning apps store is a long way off.

Differences between central and local government
The poll also found a higher number of the central government respondents believe the next government has a longer way to go, and a bigger task ahead of them. 60% of central government CIOs and IT Directors said the government needs to be considerably more ambitious compared to 38% of local government participants. The poll also found that:

  • 30% more central government respondents than local government respondents said that ICT is now seen as the problem rather than part of the solution, and
  • 19% more central government respondents than local government respondents believed a key obstacle to ICT progress was the inability to plan due to the possible change in government

“The message to the incoming government is loud and clear: ICT needs to be closer aligned to organisational needs. There needs to be more guidance on how to do more with less and a faster move to simplified and shared services that reduce complexity and drive efficiencies for the public,” added Godfrey.

About the poll
The poll was conducted on behalf of SAP in April 2010 by Coleman Parkes Research in accordance with the MRS Code of Conduct. The study consisted of 100 targeted interviews with CIOs and IT Directors in the public sector. 80% of respondents were from local government and 20% were from central government.

About SAP
SAP is the world’s leading provider of business software(*), offering applications and services that enable companies of all sizes and in more than 25 industries to become best-run businesses. With more than 95,000 customers in over 120 countries, the company is listed on several exchanges, including the Frankfurt stock exchange and NYSE, under the symbol “SAP.” For more information, visit

(*) SAP defines business software as comprising enterprise resource planning, business intelligence, and related applications.

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