Forrester predicts a flat year for tech

Agencies expected to launch fewer projects in the next couple years. The firm predicts only in 2010 will funds shake loose for the priorities of a new administration.

Key federal information technology efforts such as the Real ID Act and Internet protocol version 6 conversion will miss deadlines this year, and spending will remain flat. Funds not sucked up by war-related projects will be earmarked primarily for improving disaster recovery, consolidating infrastructure, and replacing or upgrading servers and application systems, according to technology consultants at Forrester Research Inc. of Cambridge, Mass.

Comment on this article in The Forum.The firm predicted that agencies will mount few new tech projects in 2008 and 2009, adding that only in 2010 will funds shake loose for the priorities of a new administration. Forrester published "Government IT Spending in 2008: More Work to Do With Smaller Funding Increases," on April 25.

Using Office of Management and Budget data, Forrester named 2008 IT winners and losers. The Defense, Commerce and Veterans Affairs departments saw the largest dollar increases in their tech budgets, $507 million, $475 million and $383 million, respectively. The largest percentage hikes went to the Agency for International Development (50 percent), the Housing and Urban Development Department (25 percent) and the National Science Foundation (24 percent). The biggest losers were the Army Corps of Engineers, which took a $221 million hit, a 56 percent drop; the Navy lost $121 million from last year, a 2 percent fall; and NASA saw its tech budget shrink by $95 million or 5 percent.

While 40 percent of respondents in Forrester's survey of 151 government and 1,082 nongovernment IT decision-makers nationwide said they expected to hire systems integrators or consultants for major software implementations this year, 28 percent said that cutting IT spending is a top priority. And in a display of contrariness, survey participants said they were increasingly interested both in taking back outsourced services and in outsourcing more services.