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Federal IT mobile plans slowed by security, budget concerns

Kenneth Corbin | May 22, 2013
Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the White House's digital government strategy, a new study from the Mobile Work Exchange takes stock of how agencies are pressing ahead with mobility plans.

Agencies are taking steps to trim costs associated with mobility, with 59 percent of the respondents saying that they have been conducting agency-wide inventories of their devices and wireless contracts, one of the milestones included in the digital government strategy. Another 50 percent say that their agency is developing a cost-cutting plan related to the mobile devices that they issue to employees.

Even if budget pressures have put some mobility projects on hold in the near term, over time the increased efficiencies from a mobilized workforce and novel apps could more than recoup an agency's initial expenditure, according to Roberts.

"I do think that there's a huge opportunity for government to save money and improve efficiency through mobile application," he says. "I actually suspect that there's an opportunity to do more with mobility going forward given the budget constraints."

Roberts suggests that the next phase in the evolution of the government's mobility plans could focus on producing deliverables in the form of apps as agencies navigate through the process of establishing policies for security, device management and access.

Mobile Apps Next Step
Around three-quarters of the respondents say that they using, developing or evaluating options for mobile apps, but just 9 percent say that their agency has set up an app store. Further, just 39 percent of respondents say that their agency has optimized at least two citizen-facing applications for mobile devices, another milestone in the digital government strategy.

"I would have assumed at this stage we would be farther with a bigger portfolio of applications," Roberts says, offering the hope that the coming year will see a sharp uptick in the production of public-facing apps. "The number that's going to be the most telling for me is if 65 percent of the feral agencies out there have applications for citizen and applications they use to drive efficiencies."

"I would say that getting applications out ... that would be my barometer," he adds. "I want to see that 39 percent turn into something in the high 60s."


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