Mobile Government

Agencies give themselves passing grades on digital

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The Digital Government Strategy helped persuade agencies to make progress on mobile security, device procurement, and mobile apps over the last year, but there’s a lot of work left to be done, according to a survey of federal information technology executives by the Mobile Work Exchange.

Few federal IT executives give the government top marks for executing on the goals of the digital strategy, with just nine percent saying their agency was doing A-grade work. The bulk of respondents put their agency in the middle, with 39 percent awarding themselves a C grade, and 36 percent a B.

Read the survey.

On specific mobile deliverables of the strategy, 59 percent said that their agency has established an inventory of mobile devices and service contracts. However, the performance dropped on other deliverables, such as producing customer-facing and internal mobile apps, and taking advantage of government-wide contract vehicles in procurement planning.

Given the headwinds of sequestration and the pressures of implementing the executive order on cybersecurity, the government is off to a pretty good start in executing its digital strategy, said Chris Roberts, vice president of worldwide public sector at Good Technology, which sponsored the report. “If this hadn’t been made an initiative, I don’t think agencies would have looked at maturing their IT strategy,” he said.

Agencies are increasingly deploying mobile device security and management solutions, with 65 percent of IT executives reporting that agency workers are trained on security for their mobile device. But some of the most security conscious solutions, like the ability to remotely lock and erase the contents of a device, are not in wide use. Still, the report shows that federal IT executives are, “waking up to issues around mobile security,” Roberts said.

MWE chart

The barriers to digital government progress. (Mobile Work Exchange graphic)

A more formal directive on mobile security is the next step, according to the digital strategy, which charges the Defense and Homeland Security departments along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology with developing a government-wide baseline for mobile and wireless security. This is part of the one-year deliverables of the digital government strategy, and is due out in the coming days.

The government is falling short on its app creation and optimization goals, according to the report. Only 39 percent of IT executives say they will meet their one-year goal to create mobile apps to deliver two priority customer services, and to publish plans for improving existing apps. Right now, agencies appear to be in pilot mode when it comes to apps, Roberts said.

“The bar needs to be raised on apps. If I were [federal CIO] Steven VanRoekel for a few minutes, I would want people to look harder at that stat, and ask agencies to look at one workflow for customers or something mission related where an agency can save money by using mobility and turning something into an app,” Roberts said.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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