"The government, and not just government -- everyone, large commercial enterprises as well -- are rapidly moving toward digital transformation or moving applications to the cloud. So you have these really bandwidth-intensive applications that are being asked to deliver more," he says. "Look at the network outside the data center -- it hasn't kept up."
CIO role critical to ensuring better user experience
Riverbed stresses the importance of performance management in the government IT environment, suggesting that the CIO's role will become increasingly critical to ensuring a quality user experience as more applications get farmed out to third-party vendors.
"The role of the office of CIO becomes more and more embedded in performance management," Johnson says. "If things in the cloud aren't working, they're going to call the CIO, so they're still the intermediary."
Respondents offer a variety of explanations for the middling quality of government applications, citing budget limitations, shortfalls in leadership on IT issues and a lack of technical expertise within the agency. Eighty percent of respondents say that their IT operations could benefit from more in-house training and resources.
Johnson also points out that not all agencies are at the same level in terms of the network upgrades seen as key to smooth application performance.
"The government agencies who have a large overseas footprint have invested more heavily in the network performance footprint at least because they have to by design," he says, referring to the State Department and the military and intelligence agencies. "In those types of agencies, the network is the mission."
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