State and Local Agencies Dive into Mobility Initiatives

Mobility strategies aren't just for multinational corporations and federal agencies - state and local leaders are making efforts across the nation to beef up their mobile infrastructure and provide end users with greater flexibility and control over workflow. As these initiatives are catching on with such rapid adoption and wide scale, there is a lot to be learned from the trials and errors of these smaller organizations, even if your IT team is operating at the highest level of government efficiency and financial support. It's your mission to incorporate the lessons of these myriad mobile efforts and overcome their challenges.

The lay of the land

An article from FierceMobileIT gave a snapshot of the current mobile device management environment at the state and local levels. While many of these efforts are well underway, leaders throughout the country still need to lock down the policies and technolstogies most conducive to a sustainable, effective mobile strategy. Issues such as security, user privacy, budget management and regulatory compliance still pose roadblocks for these organizations. The verdict is still out on mobility best practices, and these projects are a testament to this state of affairs. The source pointed to a Mobile Work Exchange study titled "State and Local Mobility Map: Road to Mobile Readiness," underwritten by Citrix, which revealed the level of maturity seen in these government segments. There's no denying that mobile solutions are seeing more emphasis and support from state and local organizations - the study showed that 40 percent of managers at these levels depend on mobile devices for some of their work-related tasks. That figure is expected to rise, as well, with 65 percent of leaders claiming their mobile blueprints will expand in the next five years.

Some shortcomings

On the other hand, 58 percent of decision-makers at the state and local levels said their projects were not fully realized yet, suggesting that there is still a great deal of work to be done in the world of government mobile infrastructure. Obstacles vary when it comes to mobile implementation, with 56 percent of respondents citing cyber security as a primary issue and financial limitations affecting 52 percent of projects. The study reportedly recommended that leaders shouldn't be afraid to think big with their mobile strategies, encouraging them to learn from enterprise plans if possible.

"As the call for mobility continues to grow louder to drive increased productivity, more robust COOP (continuity of operations) plans, and provide better constituent service, it is imperative for agencies to overcome these roadblocks by taking an enterprise approach when tackling mobility while also addressing infrastructure gaps, establishing incentives to spur mobility adoption and expanding employee telework eligibility to increase agency operations and productivity," said David Smith, director of state and local government at Citrix, according to the source.

What can you learn?

While the findings of Mobile Work Exchange's report may not reflect your situation as a federal IT leader, the thoughts and opinions of state and local officials still hold a great deal relevance. Technological standards, for example, are not drastically different from one level of government to the next - 62 percent of these decision-makers have incorporated virtual desktop infrastructure components to boost their mobile efforts. In addition, many of these managers expressed an interest in growing and improving their teleworking policies, which have also received much attention in the federal arena.

GCN recently offered a glimpse of the demands of mobile end users at the federal level, revealing that expectations don't vary substantially from employees in state and local spheres. Device compatibility, data protection, synchronization and collaboration all made the list of desirable mobile features.