Can federal IT still transform agency missions?

Monday - 10/24/2011, 10:17am EDT

Jerry Mechling, research vice president for the public sector, Gartner

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The federal government has gotten pretty good at improving its processes using information technology. After all, it spends $80 billion dollars a year on IT. State and local governments spend that much again.

Jerry Mechling (left) speaks with Federal Drive anchor Tom Temin.

But one government researcher says few agencies at any level improve how they perform their missions.

Jerry Mechling, a longtime faculty member at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, is now a research vice president for the public sector at Gartner.

Mechling joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris from the 2011 ELC conference in Williamsburg, Va., to discuss the federal government's IT-transformation efforts.

The federal government is under pressure to change, a result of both economics and politics, Mechling said.

While much of the IT world is wrapped up in incremental shifts and process improvements, that amounts to smaller savings than large-scale technological changes, he added.

One of the changes in recent years, is the speed with which a great idea is transformed into a technological reality, Mechling said, as in the case of Data.gov, the government's repository for federal spending information.

Check out more interviews and coverage from the 2011 Executive Leadership Conference.