Government Leaders Set the Bar for Collaborative IT

Collaboration is more than a buzzword in the contemporary IT landscape. Individuals, teams and departments need to keep channels of communication open at all times, with the support of every device imaginable. Of course, coordinating these operations across a government agency is no small feat, especially if you're responsible for bridging the gaps between multiple organizations. At the federal level, demands are not only diverse, but urgent - teams in the field and back office expect consistent delivery of high-performance applications to help them tackle their daily objectives.

While infrastructure needs are always changing, promoting a collaborative environment requires a more strategic assessment of your agency's strengths, weaknesses and risks. Determining where your agency is falling short of its collaboration goals, establishing a plan to ameliorate the situation and following through with regular updates and evaluations are essential to bring your operations up to speed with the standards of the contemporary tech landscape. Are you prepared to make collaboration an integral part of your organization's strategy?

New IT expectations arise

The influx of collaborative demands have originated from a variety of federal, local and state decision-makers who have watched their agencies thrive with these new strategies. With the incorporation of mobile device management solutions, unified communications and teleworking policies, organizations have developed the diversity of their offerings while building a more flexible environment for end users to pursue tasks. According to an article from FCW, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Office is making team-based tools a top priority for its internal research teams.

"The primary thing we are trying to enable here is scientific collaboration," said Adam Stone, chief technology officer and division deputy for policy and technology at Berkeley Lab, as quoted by the source. "When thinking about collaboration tools, it is always about being able to include external collaborators as full participants in the research environment."
Research and development aren't the only areas receiving the collaborative treatment in the federal arena, as daily communications are being supported by more dynamic, specialized tools. For instance, training end users on the finer points of BYOD and other mobility topics requires high-level coordination of educational materials, executive leadership and technology capable of delivering these lessons. The source explained that as workers develop expectations for collaborative ecosystems, it will be more difficult to convey key points with traditional methods and teaching styles.

"People are tired of 'death by PowerPoint' and one-way communication," Steve Ricketts, chief marketing officer at collaboration software vendor ThinkTank, told FCW. "One of the biggest challenges is buy-in and getting people to actively participate."

Third-party alliances are key

It's only natural to be wary of any organization offering IT advice and consultation in this rapidly changing tech landscape - nobody knows your tech layout better than you, and there is only so much guidance that can be internalized effectively. However, forming alliances with forward-thinking third-party organizations can help you get the edge in this competitive environment. GovExec recently highlighted the importance of these partnerships, explaining that support from an expert service provider can bring a greater level of accountability to your endeavors.

"If you don't have your act together, nobody will trust you to do cool stuff," said Jonathan Feldman, chief innovation officer for the city of Asheville, North Carolina, according to the source. "In terms of private sector, you can't look at vendors as a pit of vipers."

Ultimately, you'll need to consult with many various parties to ensure a smooth, well-rounded collaboration strategy. This means speaking with the stakeholders, end users and financial managers who will make your infrastructure goals possible.