The federal government lags behind the private sector in adoption of mobile technology, but improving that could generate $50 billion in added value among its work force annually, according to a new report from Deloitte Consulting.
The report says:
Mobile technology, a very powerful productivity booster, offers the public sector a chance to hit the reset button. It can not only improve internal communications and access to information within public agencies, but also enable the government to fully redesign service delivery by leveraging the power of citizens as co-creators. Mobile presents the government with a unique opportunity to drive efficiency and productivity and — at the same time — create vast improvements in the services it provides citizens.
While productivity has grown by 50 percent over the past 25 years in the private sector, government has lost ground, Federal Computer Week reports.
The Air Force presents an example of federal entities that have realized big savings through mobile technology, though privacy and security remain huge obstacles for any agency. The ongoing reports of breaches make everyone wary of threats to data security.
And there are cultural barriers. Said Rob Frazzini, a principal at Deloitte and leader of the federal digital practice:
"We have to start at the policy levels. Why the government is lagging substantially is not because there aren't tech companies pitching solutions or business process solutions in the mobile arena, it's that some business processes the government has are so far behind the times."
Indeed, only 7 percent of federal workers telework, though 32 percent of workers are eligible to, according to the 2012 Federal Telework Report. If all eligible workers teleworked just half the time, overall productivity would increase 30 to 40 percent, the Deloitte report projects.
"You're seeing a top-down squeeze to adopt this culture, and a bottom-up squeeze, and the government will not retain new talent if they don't offer these solutions," Frazzini said. "It's just not going to happen."
Meanwhile, Yahoo’s order for teleworkers to work in the office illustrates the need to have sound policy in place for managing remote workers.
IT Business Edge’s IT Downloads library has several tools for dealing with management challenges of a telework program. Here are two: