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Oct 08, 2013

Gaining Competitive Advantage in the Public Sector with Enterprise Apps

When talking about enterprise mobility and enterprise apps, the conversation typically centers on the private sector, however the public sector can also benefit from mobile enterprise solutions. Per Gartner, expenditure on mobile technology by the government sector as a percentage of their overall IT budget falls behind almost every other industry. However interest is growing: according to a survey done by Meritalk, mobile device usage in government is expected to rise by 8% for smartphones and 12% for tablets during 2013.

Enterprise Mobility Benefits

Similar to the private sector, productivity is a significant benefit of incorporating enterprise apps into employees’ workflow. According to Deloitte’s projections, if mobile adoption rates in government increased to 70%, the additional value generated could exceed $50 billion each year. Productivity is especially relevant for field-oriented employees such as social workers and inspectors. Without an enterprise mobile app designed for their job, these employees are forced to take notes on pen and paper while visiting a family or conducting an inspection, then must spend time back at the office writing up the results. One municipality, Jefferson County in New York, recently introduced iPads to their social worker staff on a test basis, with successful results; being able to access their application in the field to document their case visits increased the case workers’ productivity and enabled them to enjoy more flexibility. Other apps benefit not only government employees but also the general public. For example, Docket In Your Pocket has aggregated all of Pennsylvania’s court records into its app, which helps citizens to find out whether their future neighbor or babysitter has a criminal record, and attorneys and court employees to enjoy convenient access to this information. Increased efficiency is another benefit of incorporating consumer mobile usage into enterprise apps.

For example, SAP’s Citizen Connect that enables residents of a given municipality to report issues, which could include anything from potholes to survivor messages in an emergency. When connected to enterprise apps, the issues can be logged into a CRM system and assigned to a worker more quickly than if the citizen had called in. Imagine the potential of this for real-time crime reporting!

Enterprise Mobility Challenges

There are some challenges for the public sector, some of which are shared with private companies. Mobile application security is a prevalent concern everywhere, but no more so than in the US military. However, the DOD recently approved iOS6 devices for use at the lowest level of security clearance, which will generate demand for military-specific enterprise apps. Enterprise app adoption and deployment is also a challenge; how do you ensure that only apps approved for the purpose and each individual employee’s role are accessible to the employee? Fortunately, there are vendors who can help alleviate both of these concerns through mobile application management (MAM™). MAM™ enables government agencies to deploy apps through an enterprise app store that can be configured to display only those apps required for an employee based on their job function and pay grade. This is all good in theory, but will mobile really help in the public sector?

Government IT executives think so: in a survey published by FierceGovernmentIT, 82% of federal executives surveyed think that mobile devices were critical to workers carrying out agency missions, while 81% said mobile devices increased productivity. In fact, the US Air Force expects to save $50 million over the next 10 years by outfitting all planes with iPads. The savings will come from fuel costs (paper is heavy), printing costs, and staff (no more updating paper materials).

Clearly, there is potential -- if your public sector agency hasn't gone mobile yet, now is the time.


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