Fed Spends Billion+ Dollars on Mobility

— June 17, 2014

Since the launch of the Digital Government Strategy initiative in 2012, the U.S. government has invested $1.6B in mobilizing the Federal workforce, according to a study from Mobile Work Exchange.

Commissioned by VMware and Carahsoft, the study, “Mobility Progress Report: Are Federal Agencies Passing the Test?” explores agency outcomes from the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Digital Government Strategy and the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. 

Looking ahead, security remains a top concern and priority—agencies note that encryption and security training are among the top on the ‘must have’ list.

Mobile Savings
The Federal government has mobility savings in the forecast—there is a renewed focus on how agencies can leverage mobility/telework to support continuity of operations (COOP) and real estate reductions.

Currently, 40% of HR managers noted that their agencies could continue operations in the event of a natural or manmade event. By improving technologies and practices, if all Federal employees could telework in the event of a disaster, agencies could gain an additional $60M per day in productivity—during the 2013-2014 D.C. winter season, that’s an average of $300M more in productivity gains.

HR managers estimate that more than 25% of their office space is unoccupied at any given time. Taking a look at the real estate impact, by eliminating unused office space with a robust telework/mobility program, the Federal government can save $15.1B on real estate per year.

Meeting Strategy Goals
IT managers gave their agency a B- on its progress towards meeting the Digital Government Strategy goals. Forty percent say COOP has improved as a result of technology investments tied to the strategy, and more than two-thirds believe employees are more productive today because they have access to mobility solutions. Seventy-four percent of agency representatives found they are making wise mobile technology investments—notably in laptops, automatic software updates, backup/restore capabilities, and secure remote connections. Sixty percent noted wise investments in mobile device management solutions.

While some agencies are on the path to graduating into the digital world, some are still struggling. Only 56% of IT managers believe their agency is taking full advantage of mobility. Respondents report that security concerns (47%), available funding (38%), culture (25%), and procurement (25%) are the top mobility obstacles. What is in store for the future of Federal mobile IT? Agencies demand more security and devices. On average, they plan to invest in encryption, smartphones, and tablets in the coming years.

“Security will be a key consideration driving future mobility decisions,” said Doug Bourgeois, Vice President, End User Computing, U.S. Public Sector, VMware. “As the number of diverse mobile devices in the Federal government continues to rise, data security and mobile device management will lead in the conversation. IT and HR managers agree that security concerns are holding their agency back from taking full advantage of mobility, which in return is also affecting employee retention and recruitment efforts. By taking the necessary steps to ensure their workforce is well trained and their data is protected across all devices, agencies can successfully transition to an environment that enables a more productive, dynamic and untethered workforce.”

IT and HR Collaboration
HR managers, comprised of CHCOs and Telework Managing Officers, gave their agencies a B+ on its progress towards meeting the goals of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.

Sixty-nine percent say their agency has experienced a positive return on its telework investments. Agencies often discuss the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Viewpoint Survey as a measurement on how satisfied their employees are with telework options. Despite progress in areas, 88% have had an employee leave because of the lack of teleworking opportunities, and 54% occasionally miss out on the best job candidate because they cannot meet the candidate’s telework requirements.

As researchers see the next generation enter the workforce, the Federal government has the opportunity to remain competitive to attract top talent to public service.

Federal agencies are taking more and more steps towards graduating to the digital world, but are not quite yet at their full potential,” said Cindy Auten, general manager, Mobile Work Exchange. “With reported gains in COOP, employee productivity, and overall efficiency, it builds the business case for agencies to invest in mobile technologies. As agencies look to the future, they must continue to invest in these technologies if they want to save in the long run.”


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