Survey Shows Government Pipelines Not Ready for Data-Heavy Projects

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    Organizations are dealing with more data coming in and out from all sorts of directions these days, without a doubt. Dealing strategically with that data, from integration to analysis, is a huge part of this blog’s goal.

    Sometimes, however, you have to stop and smell the tactical. And a recent study conducted by the government IT site MeriTalk raises some BIG red flags about whether federal, state and local governments can manage the influx of data we’re about to see.

    The report identifies five factors, which it calls the Big Five of IT, that will significantly affect the flow of data into and out of organizations: Big Data, data center consolidation, mobility, security and cloud computing.

    MeriTalk surveyed 201 state and local government IT professionals. The results should give CIOs pause, since it found that while the majority of organizations plan to deploy the Big Five, 94 percent of IT pros say their agency is not fully prepared for that eventuality.

    In fact, if Big Data, mobile, cloud, security and data center consolidation all took place today, 89 percent say they’d need additional network capacity to maintain service levels. Sixty-three percent said they’d face network bottleneck risks, according to the report.

    A similar report on Federal networks last year found that the Big Five would likewise “choke Federal networks if agencies don’t take steps to prepare for increased network demands now.”

    Wow. That is not good. Also not good: Only two out of five agencies are actively coordinating efforts across the Big Five.

    For the most part, security isn’t the big problem, since 82 percent say they’ve already deployed that kind of work, with only another 16 percent planning to deploy within two years.

    Data center consolidations are already in the works at 63 percent of organizations, with another 25 percent planning them.

    So far, so good; but what’s coming down the pipe (literally) could create major problems, with 30 percent of organizations planning mobility projects and 24 percent planning to bring Big Data online. Cloud is fairly evenly divided between those who have deployed (36 percent) and those who plan to (31 percent).

    Of the Big Five, cloud and Big Data are expected to have the greatest impact on network capacity. They also rank high in terms of their impact on network complexity, with only security rated higher.

    In other words, the Big Five are about to give the network guys a heart attack, with security, bandwidth and storage all cited as major concerns keeping network managers up at night.

    It’s a troubling survey, but even more troubling is that I’m not sure I’ve seen any similar surveys about non-government agencies. So you might want to download the full report (it’s free) and then ask yourself whether you’re certain your organization is better prepared. Maybe it is. But what if it’s not?

    Big Data, mobile, cloud computing: All these new data-heavy initiatives have amazing strategic potential. Nonetheless, the best plan in the world will be useless if your network slows down to dial-up speeds. In the age of data-driven organizations, it’s probably a bad idea to take the pipeline for granted.

    Maybe it’s time to schedule a sit-down with the network admin team?

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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