Survey explores impact of complexity on the future of public sector IT

Computer virtualization, mobility and cloud computing make up nearly 56 percent of what public sector IT professionals said have had the most significant impacts on agencies within the last three to five years, a new survey by SolarWinds found.

The survey asked 148 members of the public sector a variety of questions from how increased access to different computing platforms and infrastructure has affected IT to how an agency can remain competitive in the foreseeable future.

“Public sector networks are growing more complex by the day,” Chris LaPoint, SolarWinds’ vice president of product management, said in an email to FedScoop. “IT admins have the tough assignment of keeping up with that complexity, not only in the skillsets they have, but in managing the networks on a day to day basis. This is something I don’t see changing in the near future, and it seems like our respondents agree.”

Nearly 91 percent of respondents said increased infrastructure complexity has affected their roles and responsibilities. Almost 46 percent said it affected their roles greatly, while just more than 48 percent said it somewhat affected them.


Respondents said their agency must invest in a variety of services to remain competitive during the next three to five years. Ranking as most important was cloud computing, with just less than 22 percent. Mobility was a close second at around 19 percent.

“It’s obvious that the need for training is not just for the day-to-day operations of the IT team, but would help the overall agency,” LaPoint said.

The survey results also show that bring your own technology was the third-most important issue that agencies need to invest in in order to remain competitive. Bring your own tech, commonly referred to as BYOx, entails the employee of an agency bringing whatever device is necessary to complete the job at hand — laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.

As more technology emerges and creates greater infrastructure complexity, 94.5 percent of respondents said they are confident that they can provide guidance and expertise to their respective agencies to help make decisions about new technology. Just more than 28 percent of those who are confident are completely confident. The remaining 66 percent are somewhat confident.

SolarWinds also examined the concept of disruptive technology, or evolving technology on which agencies must spend time and energy. Twenty-five percent of respondents identified BYOx as the most disruptive, with mobility following with just more than 18 percent.


“The days of IT’s limited impact on agencies are long gone,” LaPoint said. “Instead, today, we are seeing almost complete reliance on technology and incredibly complex infrastructures. IT issues can now have a tremendous negative impact on productivity and, as a result, more agencies are starting to recognize the need for IT to be involved in high-level decisions.”

Jake Williams

Written by Jake Williams

Jake Williams is a Staff Reporter for FedScoop and StateScoop. At StateScoop, he covers the information technology issues and events at state and local governments across the nation. In the past, he has covered the United States Postal Service, the White House, Congress, cabinet-level departments and emerging technologies in the unmanned aircraft systems field for FedScoop. Before FedScoop, Jake was a contributing writer for Campaigns & Elections magazine. He has had work published in the Huffington Post and several regional newspapers and websites in Pennsylvania. A northeastern Pennsylvania native, Jake graduated magna cum laude from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, or IUP, in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in political science. At IUP, Jake was the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Penn, and the president of the university chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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