The amount spent on information technology by governments globally is set to grow 6.5 per cent annually to $557.3 billion in 2022 as they accelerate spending on digital transformation amid the pandemic, US research firm Gartner has said.
Modernising the existing IT infrastructure and applications as well as digital government transformation will remain high government priorities in the coming months, the Connecticut-based consultancy said in its latest report.
Other areas of investment include spending to improve customer and employee experience, strengthen analytical capabilities and scale operational agility.
“Governments will continue to accelerate investments in digital technologies to respond and recover from the continuing evolution of public health uncertainties due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Irma Fabular, research vice president at Gartner, said.
“The disruptions caused by the pandemic have also reinforced a key digital government tenet, which is public policy and technology are inseparable."
The Covid-19 economic assistance funding packages – such as the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act announced in March and the $955.7bn Next Generation EU fund agreed to in July last year to support European Union member states hit by the pandemic – will drive the funding, Gartner said.
The funding will focus on areas such as digital enablement, including support for sustainable growth, social programmes, cyber security education and digital inclusion.
Next year, governments will allocate 64 per cent of total IT spending to services and software to boost “responsiveness and resilience” of public services.
The IT services will see the largest outlay among six sectors highlighted, totalling $203.9bn or almost 37 per cent of the total spending, the report said. The remaining $353.3bn-plus will go towards upgrading software, telecom services, internal services, devices and data centres.
Covid-19 has amplified the need for governments to rapidly scale IT infrastructure to respond to the unprecedented public demands. Gartner estimates that by 2025, more than 50 per cent of government agencies will have modernised critical applications to ensure a robust resilience and agility in their operations.
“Governments are rethinking their public cloud strategies to accelerate IT modernisation, improve efficiencies and increase data security,” Ms Fabular said.
The pandemic has also intensified the need for adopting citizen digital identity as a critical element to digital government transformation.
“Digital identity is moving beyond authenticating citizens online and signing remote transactions … to raise the chances for greater adoption of digital identity, governments must treat privacy, security and user convenience as critical success factors,” Ms Fabular said.