Feds don't always see mobile as cost saver

New research exploring what effect mobile technology has on the productivity and operations of federal agencies confirms that many believe a move to mobile would boost productivity and save money in the long run.

The findings from a survey of 300 federal managers come just a day after the White House announced its new mobile strategy to make government services available on mobile devices.

“Americans deserve a government that works for them anytime, anywhere, and on any device,” President Barack Obama said in announcing the directive that requires agencies to pick two services citizens depend on and make them available on mobile phones within the next 12 months.

Market Connections conducted the survey, commissioned by AOL Government. It showed that 75 percent said mobile technology will make it easier to complete work off-site, bumping up productivity and cost savings. An overwhelming number (82 percent) said mobile technology would make it easier to telework. Nearly 70 percent also think providing immediate access to agency data through mobile devices helps decision making.

Most respondents said the greater cost-savings from a move to mobile will come from lower real estate costs (57 percent); reduced net computer hardware costs (49 percent); lower software licensing costs (42 percent); and lower help- desk costs (35 percent). Respondents said an overall shift to mobile could save as much as 29 percent per year over time.

But mobile doesn’t always bring savings, some respondents pointed out. A transition to mobile technology would likely hike up spending for wireless and carrier subscriptions. Nearly 70 percent also anticipate a higher spend for adding mobile devices, and 62 percent foresee additional costs for security for mobile devices.

With the backdrop of the newly rolled-out strategy for a digital government, 44 percent said they need more guidance or roadmaps from federal IT leaders on how to best proceed with mobile technology. More than 40 percent said they would like to see better acquisition processes to buy mobile technology.

The survey polled 300 federal managers who work with establishing polices, initiatives, buying or developing systems that involve mobile technology.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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