Report by IDC Government Insights examines IT spending at DHS
IDC Government Insights announced on March 13 a new report, Perspective: Department of Homeland Security – A Detailed Look at IT Spending, Key Contracts and Trends, designed to provide a detailed look at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including the department’s many levels of information technology spending and IT project priorities.
This new document provides details on how both mandatory and discretionary spending passes through the various DHS sub-agencies, and what impact this budgeting will have on IT planning and spending.
“DHS has billions to spend on IT solutions. However, much of that money is already being dedicated to existing IT projects. This makes it difficult to identify the department’s new spending opportunities”
The Department of Homeland Security’s spending jumped from roughly $5.5 billion in FY2012 to almost $5.7 billion in FY2013, with nearly $6.1 billion projected for FY2014. The FY2014 budget jump is marked by bringing some new systems online related to the department’s Infrastructure Transformation Program, plus some increased investments related to the National Cybersecurity & Protection System (NCPS).
The new report examines how the DHS’s budgeted information technology funds for this time period are spent on addressable markets (hardware, software, IT services) and non-addressable markets (staff salaries, data center operations, space and equipment rental, and more).
The report also investigates:
- How IT spending is targeted on specific systems and projects at the DHS;
- What the major IT investment areas are across the department, especially related to specific programs; and
- Where the IT investments fall from an enterprise architecture standpoint.
The report also includes a set of tables that highlight which IT vendors are the top contract winners both for IT and telecom solutions and for all types of purchased products and services. These tables also list which specific IT solutions are the biggest dollar targets within the DHS, and how this money is spent across old and new IT.
Highlights from the report include:
- On average, most agencies spend roughly 75% of their IT dollars operating and maintaining existing systems. The other 25% is spent on installing or developing new systems or modernizing existing systems. However, DHS spends about 16.4% of its annual $6 billion IT budget on new systems and modernization — significantly below the federal government average. The department spends 83.6% of its IT budget on operation and maintenance of existing systems, which is above the federal average.
- DHS has shown an ongoing willingness to adapt new technologies, such as mobile solutions and business process outsourcing. Yet, its IT progress has been slow in other ways, such as moving some solutions to the cloud. Of note, DHS currently spends about 1.2% of its IT budget on cloud computing, slightly lower that other agency averages, which hover around 2.3%.
- DHS is a leader in integrating big data solutions. The agency collects and analyzes data from multiple resources and does significant data drilling related to pattern matching and entity analytics.
- With an annual investment of nearly $2.2 billion, “IT Infrastructure Maintenance” is the department’s top investment area. The next highest investment area, at over $743 million, is IT solutions focused on “Border and Transportation Security.”
- The top DHS IT contractor for FY 2013 was CSC, with contracts totaling $80.8 million. Many of those individual agreements are focused on CSC providing emergency priority telecommunications services and general cybersecurity services.
- DHS spends much more money on guards (over $1 billion) than it does on most IT solutions.
“DHS has billions to spend on IT solutions. However, much of that money is already being dedicated to existing IT projects. This makes it difficult to identify the department’s new spending opportunities,” said Shawn McCarthy, research director for IDC Government Insights. “Vendors looking to sell to DHS need to review the difference between the agency’s mandatory spending and its discretionary spending and the wide variety of program-level investments. Many vendors find that a quick way to approach DHS is to start doing business with a large systems integrator that already holds contracts with the department, giving vendors an immediate sales channel via the SI.”