IT Spending: Elections and Electronics

Information technology isn't entirely non-partisan, Shawn McCarthy, research director for IDC Government Insights, said during a web presentation Wednesday.

Administration-to-administration changes are only at the margins though and, because most IT budgeting is done in multi-year cycles, it can take a year or more for those minor shifts to show up.

IT spending at the Environmental Protection Agency, for instance, grew at a slightly faster pace under President Obama than during the Bush years, McCarthy said. If a Republican candidate wins in 2012, that could mean slightly different funding levels for some Republican-favored agencies, but not a wholesale shift in focus, he said.

IDC Government Insights is an analysis firm that focuses on government information technology.

Federal spending on IT is projected to grow about 3 percent during fiscal 2012 after a dip of about 2 percent of actual spending during fiscal 2011, McCarthy said.

Overall federal IT spending is and will remain remarkably stable despite the severe budget crunch across the rest of government, McCarthy said. That spending will continue to shift, though, from in-house systems to investments in cloud storage and other cross-agency initiatives, he said.

"Agencies will no longer maintain their own email systems or financial systems," he said. "Things that are common across all agencies are going to cloud solutions or sometimes they'll be done by other agencies."