Outfitting staff with smartphones and tablets undoubtedly helps to mobilize the workforce, but it takes more than hardware alone to transform operations. The VMware “State of Business Mobility Report” identifies a significant gap between organizations’ mobility goals and their ability to achieve them.
According to the VMware study, most organizations have only reached the initial stage of mobile maturity.
The report finds that 95 percent of organizations are using mobility to enhance personal productivity through basic applications, such as calendaring and email. However, fewer organizations have harnessed mobility to empower teams and increase collaboration and communication at the group level. And just 20 percent have successfully re-engineered a core business process for mobility.
But the desire to drive mobility forward in government is there. Encouragingly, the results of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ 2015 annual survey, “The Value Equation: Agility in Sourcing, Software and Services” show that 50 percent of state CIOs deem mobile devices and mobile app projects as either an essential or a high priority. The report notes that state CIOs are adopting a hybrid approach to providing mobile access to public-facing services.
Most IT departments rely on a mix of native mobile apps and responsive web design.
Set Your Mobile Strategy
In order for mobility to truly transform government, public-sector IT leaders must formulate a mobile strategy. I don’t mean a bring-your-own-device policy that offers guidelines, such as who pays for devices, what devices and applications are permitted and what security is required, but rather a comprehensive strategy that lays out concrete goals and provides a blueprint for achieving them.
A solid mobile strategy balances the need to provide an excellent user experience with the need to maintain security and comply with mandates such as the Criminal Justice Information Services requirements, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. States and localities that lack IT staff or mobile expertise may seek guidance from a trusted partner to assess, design, deploy and manage mobile solutions.
Indeed, implementing appropriate security and device management can be complicated. The VMware report finds that device security and control, risk of data loss and the cost and complexity of management present the greatest challenges to mobile initiatives. But organizations can work around these obstacles by deploying a smart mix of technologies such as enterprise mobility management, end-to-end security, unified endpoint management and modern identity for mobile/cloud management.
Don't Be Afraid to Embrace Apps
So far, the most innovative apps for government tend to be public-facing rather than for internal use. However, it’s the internal apps for government workers that will drive business process improvements for agencies.
A centrally managed and customized app store enables state and local government to provide a central point of access to the critical apps and tools that workers need to be productive in a mobile environment. This includes specialized apps tailored to the needs of the organization, along with those that can be found in commercial app stores.
In addition to providing the apps that users demand, government IT departments must be ready to ease procurement of mobile devices and provision new users. As organizations expand their mobile rollouts and work with a range of carriers, expense management can reveal opportunities to reduce and recover costs.
Altogether, a thoughtful and informed mobile strategy can help IT departments optimize the user experience while properly securing and managing devices and data.