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Dear fans of a mobilized, service-oriented government, the original version of this post had been eaten by a voracious ETL monster feeding on big data. Please bear with us as we try to re-assemble left-over crumbs to a nutritious blog post. Thank you.

“There goes my people, I’ve got to follow them, I’m their leader”

Attributed to Alexandre Ledru-Rollin, a French revolutionary, this quote sums it up: Governments will be left behind when they don’t embrace technologies their constituents use. The use of mobile technology (or rather the lack thereof) is a great case in point.

By 2015, the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion, representing 37.2% of the total workforce, finds IDC, a consultancy in one of its latest reports. Generation Y workers, the millenials, are always connected to jobs through technology. Accenture, another consultancy, claims these expectations of Millennials have an impact on employer attractiveness: 52% of them consider state-of-the-art technology an important selection criteria for employers. A recent survey finds that only 11% of respondents have deployed enterprise mobility solutions and reports that  “Government/Public Sector enterprises are the laggards in the race”. For enterprise mobility, which is led by the financial services and hospitality industry the survey reports more than 50% have deployed enterprise mobility solutions (page 8).

For me, this picture is a little surprising, as safety and security concerns in the financial industry and in government are often viewed as equally important.. In many countries, banks offer mobile banking and financial transactions via dedicated apps, the web, or via SMS and their customers love it. We’ll dig into this in a bit.

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Clearly, the clock is ticking for gov: When competing with the private sector on the labor market today (and with one another), agencies which do not invest in mobile technology and do not support mobile devices for work risk to lose out massively on the brightest minds and most productive workers. If for no other reason, keeping a sustainable workforce should be the single most important reason for each and every government agency to create a strategic plan for and with enterprise mobility now.

Luckily, in the US, the federal General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies encourages other government entities to make government more mobile-accessible for citizens, and provides practical help and guidance to them. 

And, admittedly, there is a perceivable trend in many agencies to demonstrate awareness and to provide for some mobile experience of public content or services to citizens. These activities are laudable, as they show a renewed focus on serving citizen. However, as figures quoted above clearly show, the current activities are just that, a trickle of a trend, not yet mainstream, and more importantly, not signs of a strategic and systematic embrace of this maturing technology. By hesitating to go systematically mobile, government agencies on all levels, federal, state or local, are maintaining unnecessarily high levels of expenditure, and forego the opportunity to enhance citizen services. In the following weeks we are making the case for government to strategically go mobile while saving taxpayer money. Read on here.    

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