Tablets Transform the Government Workforce

IT managers say tablets save time and money and improve service delivery.

Tablet computers have completely changed the way government works in Mecklenburg County, N.C.

Restaurants in Mecklenburg County can now get their inspections “to go.” Clifford DuPuy, technical services director, says the county’s restaurant inspectors can now use a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and a mobile printer to share a score sheet with the owner. If the restaurant passes inspection, the worker can capture a signature with the stylus and print a license on the spot. In the past, inspectors had to log everything on paper in the field and return to an office to enter the data into the county’s system.

Youth and family services workers can also access electronic forms from tablets via virtual desktop infrastructure and have clients complete forms on the devices. “Today, all the case files are stored in Microsoft Azure,” adds DuPuy. “Our case workers can now work more efficiently and handle more cases because there’s less paper and manual inputting.”


The estimated average increase for enterprise mobility spending in 2014

SOURCE: VDC Research, “The Global Market for Enterprise Tablets,” September 2014

By the end of July, DuPuy and his staff will roll out 1,000 Surface Pro 3 tablets across the county. The county chose the units because they easily convert from tablet to notebook format, and also because they support Windows applications. “We really like that the Surface Pro 3 lets us pick and choose the applications that fit in best with our infrastructure,” he adds.

Chris Silva, a Gartner research director who focuses on mobility, says Windows compatibility is driving interest among organizations that are considering replacing desktops and notebooks with tablets. “Organizations are much more willing to take the plunge and go with these devices because of their support for Windows applications,” he says.

Tablets in Bucks County

Tablets have also transformed how county staff work in Bucks County, Pa. — in this case, Fujitsu Stylistic Q702 devices. CIO Donald Jacobs says the tablets have helped the county work efficiently with close to 10 percent fewer staff than a few years ago.

For example, Bucks County social workers use the tablets to complete electronic forms, take notes and take pictures for evidence in child abuse cases. “Historically, social workers had to go visit a client, fill out the forms, then go back to the office and either input the paperwork or have someone else in the office do that work,” Jacobs explains. Now staff can input the forms electronically, which eliminates office visits and enables them to visit as many as five clients per day.

Jacobs says everyone likes the Stylistic’s 11.6-inch screen, convertible notebook form factor and nine hour–plus battery life. He says many other county departments have enjoyed similar productivity gains, including the Bucks County Area Agency on Aging, as well as the District Attorney’s Office and parole officers.

“We have 68 departments in the county, and I can’t think of one department that doesn’t use some kind of mobility option today,” Jacobs says.

Dec 19 2014