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Public Sector Agencies Prepare for Digital Transformation

While the deployment of information and communications technology (ICT) in the public sector has been negatively impacted by several years of tight budgets and limited growth, there are pockets of targeted investment that reflect the need to evolve essential government systems and applications.

The public sector IT and associated professional services market continued to improve during the third quarter of 2015 (3Q15). The nineteen vendors in the Technology Business Research (TBR) Public Sector IT Services Benchmark achieved a combined year-to-year revenue decline of -1.4 percent in 3Q15 -- however, that's a 360-basis-point improvement over 3Q14 and the best performance since 1Q13.

According to the latest TBR market assessment, six vendors actually achieved year-to-year growth during the quarter, while five others were down by less than 2 percent compared to 3Q14.

The savvy U.S. IT vendors have diversifying their portfolios, expanding into adjacent international markets and are now focusing on areas of increased government spending -- such as cyber security and healthcare.

"While acquisitions have played a major role in improving aggregate top-line performance, particularly among federally focused services pure plays, we've also noted legacy business growth among many larger players in the market," said Sebastian Lagana, senior analyst at TBR.

Government Agencies Adopting New Technologies

An aggregate backlog of $83.46 billion among the 12 federal-led vendors in 3Q15 represented growth of 6.1 percent from $78.66 billion in 2Q15, with the majority of included companies realizing backlog growth, aided in part by the budget spend at the end of the federal government fiscal year.

Growth was largely driven by services-led IT organizations, although legacy defense and aerospace vendors realized improved performance, which is indicative of positive momentum following the portfolio shaping and organizational restructuring initiatives undertaken over the past two years.

While the public sector project backlog grew sequentially for the second straight quarter, TBR analysts don't expect this trend to continue in 4Q15, as there is typically a slowdown in contract awards at the start of the new federal government fiscal year.

However, the aggregate project backlog should continue to improve against year-ago comparable periods, given a stabilizing U.S. federal budget environment, increased defense-sector IT spending and growing international demand for security-related IT capabilities and associated professional services.

TBR believes that government agencies are demonstrating an increased interest in preparing for the adoption of disruptive technologies -- such as cloud computing, digital transformation and the Internet of Things (IoT), which will also drive demand for securing strategic communication networks and rapidly growing big data applications.

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