New WashingtonExec Series:
WashingtonExec reached out to executives in the government contracting community for their predictions regarding what to expect in 2012 as the federal government looks to significantly increase its adoption of mobile technologies.
Our first participant is Doug Wagoner, Vice President and General Manager of Homeland and Civilian Solutions at SAIC.
2012 will be known as the year the federal government got ‘mobilized’ to take advantage of mobile computing.
I believe that the federal government is in a unique position to lead all other sectors of the national economy in the enterprise adoption of mobile technology.
No other sector has the unifying mobility vision that OMB has created for the federal government. Most of the federal government consists of a knowledge based workforce that can best serve citizens when they are in the ‘field’. Areas such as defense, intelligence, law enforcement, environmental monitoring, benefits administration, veterans’ health and many others are more effective when they are connected to their enterprise while being closer to their mission.
This requires careful planning, governance and implementation. Mobile technologies do not function in isolation as they literally have the ability to put the power of the enterprise in your hands. They collect, access, and distribute data. This introduces new and complex security issues, human resource management and policy issues. The list goes on. Therefore mobility planning requires a complete 360-degree analysis of these interdependencies prior to enjoying the technological and cost benefits.
Here are my predictions for the drivers in 2012 that will impact mobility adoption:
Federal Budget Outlook:
Shrinking budgets will force federal executives to completely analyze their cost structure as opposed to just making cuts. Now is the time for new approaches to real estate, IT infrastructure and human capital. Only mobility can positively impact all of these major cost drivers for a Department while simultaneously increasing productivity.
The increased consumer-izing of enterprise IT will be seen by the demand of workers, especially younger workers, to bring their own devices to work. We will see agencies testing this concept for device acquisition and working on the governance and HR policies to enable this. While not all consumer products have the security rigor that some agencies demand, the risk/cost alternative of them is too compelling to ignore.
The federal government has made great strides to collaborate across departments to take advantage of cloud computing. A great example of this is the data center consolidation implemented by Richard Spires at DHS and the DHS TACCOM program which pooled requirements across the Department for their tactical communications requirements. The Government has learned to collaborate and reuse technologies to prevent duplication of investments. Mobility will be the next opportunity to share investments and new ideas.
Enterprise Expansion Experimentation:
In 2012 we will see agencies and departments look for opportunities to make quick, low risk and impactful successes with mobility. This will likely push widely used enterprise applications to mobile platforms. A great example of this was NASA making their time recording system available to all employees via a mobile application. This, and enabling other mobile apps at NASA, led them to create the first ever federal ‘app store’. These applications not only make people more productive immediately but serve as important laboratories for best practices in future mobile integrations.