By Teresa Payne Nunn, senior vice president, Mid-Atlantic and Federal Operations, Xerox

Budget uncertainty is hitting federal IT managers in a personal way.

They came into the field to pursue innovative IT work, but that means freeing up investment dollars tied up in legacy IT infrastructures – and that’s no easy feat.

At a recent Washington, D.C. discussion among public sector IT managers, Dr. Alan Shark of Rutgers University and the executive director of the Public Technology Institute, put the issue in perspective. He said CIO shops are becoming stewards of data (including Big Data) – in addition to their usual work in client-server architectures, PCs and standard applications.

New responsibilities are good news for IT pros who can now practice their craft on a whole new set of application platforms, accessed everywhere. Think shared services, enterprise networks without hard edges, and new models of app deployment. Government’s IT Goal: Reinvest in Innovation It’s nirvana for any self-respecting IT aficionado!

Then reality sets in.

  • Government risk-aversion intensifies in tough budget times. CIOs demand proof of how new operating models take cost and complexity out.
  • When it comes to printing, hard copy is still here to stay in government, but agencies are looking for ways to centralize it, reduce risk, cut costs and make it more energy efficient.
  • Security remains top-of-mind, including potential exploitation and data loss threats. But solutions are sometimes elusive.

So it’s interesting times in government IT – as trends like mobility and BYOD – offer exciting opportunities for personal and professional growth, these new opportunities require a careful balance of old and new tactics/strategies.  I left the session in D.C. intrigued and ready to help our IT colleagues who are going through this challenging government transformation.