Study Offers Reasons Why Government Technology and Procurement Practices Needs to Change

Washington — A study by market research firm Omdia released Monday explores reasons why most government departments rely on just one vendor for productivity software and why IT departments are choosing to select ease of management and end user familiarity with the tools at the expense of developing a best of breed approach that would increase employee productivity and increase the value to taxpayers.

This report follows a previous Omdia study last month commissioned by Google and the Computer & Communications Industry Association that showed the government relies on a single vendor for office productivity software, but bundling with other tools has created ”shadow IT” that stymies innovation and could create security issues.

Researchers surveyed 250 participants—individuals responsible for technology purchasing decisions in  U.S. national and state & local governments—and discovered three main reasons to explain how Microsoft office software became the default choice for most government office productivity software: 

  •         57% of officials believe the most important requirement in selecting a communication and collaboration partner is to reduce the workload in their IT department
  •         Only 27% of  officials cite “user demand” as a factor affecting their purchasing decision leading to staff sourcing alternative products to meet their needs
  •         Security breaches, excessive costs, and unreliable technology appear to be normalized 

The following can be attributed to Omdia’s Tim Banting, Practice Leader, Digital Workplace, an author of the report: 

“It seems that IT departments are happy to take advantage of bundling and ease of management even if it causes issues downstream with shadow IT and security.  If employees don’t use the applications they have that return on investment won’t get realized. IT inertia, monoculture, and a single vendor approach prevent staff from capitalizing on more valuable solutions, so employees are likely to use an alternative, whether that meets security and compliance guidelines or not. The procurement of communication and collaboration tools needs to be more democratic and, well, collaborative.” 

The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matthew Schruers:

 “As Washington policymakers evaluate the state of tech competition, some of the most important evidence is the software suite they’re working in.  With 85% of government IT departments going with one provider despite increasing reports of breaches, the connection between the state of software competition and security is clear.”

For any questions about the research itself or methodology, please contact: Matthew Short from Omdia at [email protected]

For questions about CCIA’s history and advocacy on tech competition issues or why it co-commissioned this study with Google, please contact Heather Greenfield [email protected].

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