There is a simple explanation for the 400 percent increase over the last five years in federal agencies' investments in predictive analytics: Too much data.
“The exponential growth in structured and unstructured data is the backdrop of future federal IT needs,” stated a new report from Deltek on “Emerging Federal Technology Markets” for 2015.
The purpose of this recently released study was to present federal IT contractors with a better understanding of the year ahead for emerging tech in the federal marketplace.
Although the report found positive signs of life in federal IT, such as the increase in popularity of predictive analytics, it also discovered just how much more this arena needs to grow in the coming year (not to mention every year after that).
Besides predictive analytics, the report found two other key emerging areas, which could help the federal government with its data overload.
The first area was sensor technologies, which can help track energy consumption and improve security.
Success there depends a great deal on network modernization within each agency. Although this was one of the motivating factors behind the Defense Department’s scaling up of the Joint Information Environment, other agencies have not followed suit with similar projects.
“Expanding use of sensors at nearly all levels of the information asset chain stretches current IT governance models, raising CIO authority and IT management challenges,” the report stated.
Experts also highlighted software-defined infrastructure. As its name suggests, this is a range of technologies, including computing and storage, which are managed by way of a software virtualization layer.
Although software-defined infrastructure is important for sifting through overwhelming reams of data, at this point it's something more agencies are still chewing on than implementing.
But the report said “this is expected to change as agencies adopt more infrastructure-as-a-service solutions.” Those agencies who have infused the cloud into their day-to-day activities will have first dibs.
Finally, there's predictive analytics. Although it might be the most popular of the three innovations highlighted in the report, it too still needs some improvements.
Predictive analytics as a discipline is still considered exotic, the report explained. And this will likely only change if the General Services Administration's contract Alliant II contract begins listing it as an offering.
Some federal agencies are doing better than others when it comes to embracing these technological innovations, the report found. But many others continue to struggle to make tech advancements that could help them handle their data.
The challenges lie in tight budgets and slow processes. But agencies also have to be willing to embrace innovation. One of the key success factors in introducing new tech is simply agencies' "willingness and ability to change.”