Public Sector Organizations’ Top Technology Challenges for 2017


Public sector organizations will face significant technology challenges in 2017. Once considered a staid and stable sector of the economy, advancing technology and demands by constituents to do more with less are forcing public sector organizations to adapt quickly.

Some of the challenges we see on the horizon for the public sector include:

  • Changing IT demographics
  • Cloud technology
  • Big data and the Internet of Things

Let’s take a look at these challenges in a bit more depth.

Changing demographics for IT workers

Consider this: the oldest cohort of baby boomers turned 65 in 2011, during the depths of the great recession. For many of these older workers, losses to their retirement accounts may have delayed retirement plans for a few years. However, retirement won’t wait forever. Those workers who remained are now approaching 70; over the next few years they’ll be leaving the workforce along with younger boomers.

Many public sector organizations are unprepared for what this exodus means for their IT departments, as senior level IT workers and managers opt for retirement.  In areas like IT that require specialized skills, public sector organizations may struggle to replace these workers. Succession planning will be a top priority. Some public sector organizations may turn to IT outsourcing or managed services providers to meet their need for skilled IT expertise.

Cloud or in-house technology

Cloud technology like Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) allows public sector organizations to keep up with the latest advances in technology, including mobile computing, at a reduced upfront cost. However, questions around security has made many public sector organizations reluctant to adopt cloud based solutions.

Public sector organizations will continue to wrestle with this question in 2017. However, for smaller organizations like towns and municipalities that lack a significant IT footprint, transitioning to cloud solutions like Office365 may be a way to reduce their IT costs, while keeping up with constituent expectations around collaboration, communication and organizational efficiency.

In terms of security, cloud solutions have come a long way in recent years. In fact, with software updates managed by the application provider, security may in many cases be better than when managed in-house. How secure are we talking? The UK Ministry of Defense recently migrated to the Microsoft cloud.

Big Data and the Internet of Things

From traffic cameras that send automated alerts to keeping track of coffeepots and cars in an organization’s fleet, the Internet of Things (IOT) will allow public sector organizations to gather and analyze data about nearly anything. The IOT will also allow them to deliver this information as services to their constituents.

Yet this ability comes at a cost. As more devices become connected, public sector organizations must determine how to cost-effectively leverage the data they produce. Determining how to manage and analyze this data will put stress on smaller organizations’ ability to keep up with technology.

These are just a few of the technology challenges public sector organizations will face in 2017. What technology challenges is your public sector organization struggling to meet? Let us know in the comments.