Socitm, the professional association for public sector ICT management, has released its latest annual IT Trends report showing the use of smartphones, tablets and bring your own device (BYOD) schemes have come out as the top priorities for IT managers in 2012-13.

Socitm said that the trend has “come from nowhere in the survey last year, to beat cloud computing, broadband and PSN and environmental and sustainability issues in 2012”.

It found that the increasing pressure from users and the possibility of using BYOD schemes to reduce costs are the main drivers for the change in priorities.

The author of the report, now in its 26th year, Chris Head, also found that IT managers in the public sector are at risk of being excluded from key decisions affecting themselves and colleagues, due to a perceived lack of competence outside the IT department.

Effective communication

“The survey team were surprised that ICT managers still see only a minor role for themselves in service modernisation. They report that, while respected for technical competence and advice, they lack credibility within their organisations in advocating and driving business process change outside their own department,” said Head.

“Our advice is that they work on developing the personal power exerted by politically astute individuals who can communicate effectively.”

According to estimates based on the survey, the UK local authority ICT market is now worth £3.3 billion and provides employment for about 27,100 people.

Mobile working

The central ICT unit directly employs a growing share of staff – some 62% – while service departments now only account for 8%. Only 2% work for shared ICT services, and 28% are outsourced.

Staff costs absorb almost half the IT budget (46%), leaving a potential market of some £1.8 billion for commercial suppliers to compete for.

Respondents to the survey said that the top concerns for their organisation in the coming year were: making savings, technology refresh (hardware and software), service development and improvement, responding to the changing shape of services, and mobile/flexible working.

The IT Trends 2012-13 is available for purchase from Socitm for £495 as a report (£295 for Socitm Insight subscribers), or as a package with the data included for £595 (£395 for Socitm Insight subscribers).