IT & Networks

Federal agencies need to improve IT app performance management, says survey

The productivity and satisfaction of federal employees is being negatively impacted by slow, glitch-prone IT apps, according to a research study by application performance company Riverbed Technology and the Government Business Council.

Their survey, titled "Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers," found nearly one-quarter of the 335 respondents (representing more than 30 defense and civilian agencies) expressed frustration at their agency's applications multiple times on a daily basis, and 60 percent lack confidence in management's ability to tackle identified issues. One in three of those surveyed said it could currently take up to or more than a day for critical application failures to be addresses.

"It’s not acceptable for consumer applications to be down in the private sector and it shouldn’t be in government," said Davis Johnson, vice president of public sector at Riverbed Technology. "However, we’re finding many federal agencies don’t have the visibility tools they need to quickly solve trouble areas before they cause application performance issues. What’s needed to prevent performance issues from spoiling the promise of federal IT modernization and digital transformation is better end-to-end application and network visibility."

These unreliable apps and strained network resources are threatening IT modernization efforts, according to the findings. Speed, load times, and application crashes and freezes ranked at the top for sources of IT-related frustration. Improved responsiveness ranked as the No. 1 desired application improvement.

The three most poorly rated app types are workplace collaboration tools, communication tools — such as video and chat — and database applications.

A general consensus among more than half those surveyed was there is cause for concern over whether agencies can handle potential technical issues that may arise with future application rollouts. The primary challenges to readiness include budget constraints, a lack of leadership/planning, lack of in-house technical expertise and security concerns, among other reasons.

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