WashingtonExec 2013 Government Contracting Outlook Series:
The new year brings big changes for the Federal IT industry, and WashingtonExec is back with its Government Contracting Industry Outlook Series.
We are giving local executives the opportunity to share their thoughts on where they see our industry headed this year and beyond. Leaders were asked a series of questions focused on cloud computing, healthcare IT, defense, mobility, and more.
Tom Suder, President of Mobilegov, gave us his predictions for 2013, a year he says will be smartphone and table hype-less, with an emphasis on government enterprise mobility:
“Last year in WashingtonExec, I predicted was that “2012 will be the year of the smart phone and tablet….expect a lot of hype.”
Fast forward one year and my prediction is that 2013 will be the year of the smart phone and tablet — without the hype.
2013 will be the year of Government Enterprise Mobility, with the emphasis of getting capabilities into the hands of the internal government worker.
I think my assessment for 2012 was pretty much on target. It was a year of hype and talk about mobility, but near the end of 2012, we saw Mobile Device Management/Mobile Application Store (MDM/MAS) awards in both the Department of Agriculture and Veterans Affairs. The building blocks of mobility are gradually getting laid, which will allow us to move on to more interesting capabilities. Money is starting to move to mobility.
In May 2012, the Digital Government Strategy was released as a Presidential memorandum with a series of deliverables for mobility in areas such as security, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and applications.
With agencies starting to make good progress on their infrastructures, now is the time to go beyond bringing “do-your-job” capabilities to the folks that work in the field. For example, law enforcement agencies that have access to all the information from their databases in the “palm of their hand” now have the ability to update these systems in real-time, rather than “doing paperwork at the end of the day.” Another example is “Blue Force Tracking” that allows an enterprise to monitor their workers for safety and efficiency.
Government work forces are starving for these additional capabilities. They use these new devices and applications at home and want to use them in their everyday jobs.
If 2013 is the year of Government Enterprise Mobility, here are the largest trends in the sector itself:
1) BYOD – Kim Hancher, CIO of EEOC, paved the way for other federal agencies with a cost-benefit analysis of BYOD. Twenty-seven percent of her workforce opted out of a government-issued phone for their own phone — voluntarily. While the devil is in the details, expect many civilian agencies to follow with their own BYOD policies in 2013.
2) Application Programming Interface (API) – APIs allow systems to speak virtually a “universal language”, so that a 30-year old system can output data in the same format as a brand-new system. This is essential for a mobile app to grab a simple feed — possibly from many systems — in order to produce a capability.
Data.gov showed us the power of unlocking data for both industry and the citizen, now agencies need to “free the data” on the Enterprise side. Gray Brooks, Senior API Strategist for GSA, has been doing groundbreaking work in this area. He is someone to watch in 2013.
3) Digital Government Strategy, Part II?
Last year in this space, I alluded to a government effort that ultimately resulted in the Digital Government Strategy. Great progress was made with this initial version of the Digital Government Strategy, but it really is just a first step. Getting e-mail and having a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) capability on a tablet is an incremental increase in efficiency. Agencies still need guidance on dramatically improving actual capabilities with great mobile applications while decreasing costs — not an easy trick, even in industry.”
Tom Suder is also co-hosting the Annual Federal Mobile Computing Summit at the Ronald Regan Center January 22nd and 23rd. Read more about the event here.