Government agencies keen to embrace mobile technologies

A report into Australian Government mobility trends and issues undertaken by Tech Research Asia says that more than 80 percent of Australian government agencies believe mobility can improve their efficiency, yet almost half have no idea of the costs.

Forty seven percent of respondents admitted they did not know how much budget to allocate for mobility projects. A further 31 percent said they had "a pretty good idea" while 15 percent felt they had "formulated an estimate". Only seven percent of respondents were confident they knew precisely how much money they would need to spend on their project.

Surprisingly, customer service did not feature prominently. When agencies were asked which functions they would mobilise, customer-facing solutions were rated as being the least important. The report said: “This contrasts markedly with many organisations in the private sector that are pursuing mobility solutions with a goal of increasing their external customer engagement and service delivery.”

The 2013 Government Mobility Survey - based on interviews with senior managers across federal, state and local governments - found strong enthusiasm for the potential of mobile devices and services. Tech Research Asia said: “There is a very clear expectation amongst more than 80 percent of respondents that mobility will explicitly improve internal processes and deliver greater operational efficiencies.”

It added: “In TRA’s experience many of the most effective mobility deployments and solutions have been focused on removing ‘grit’ from internal processes, for example the mobilisation of expense claims or leave requests.”

The survey found most agencies intend to steer away from the prospect of developing mobility solutions in-house. Only 25 percent of respondents nominated this as the path for their future strategies. The remainder plan to either use existing vendor mobility solutions (38 percent) or engage a specialist organisation to design and implement a solution (37 percent). The study also found that senior business managers are more likely to be the drivers of mobility strategies than the IT department.

Seventy percent of respondents identified integration with existing systems and services as being either extremely or very important. Support for future technologies was ranked extremely or very important by 59 percent, and the ability to support most or all of a department's needs by 55 percent.

Fifty one percent of respondents nominated field data collection and inspections/reporting as being either extremely or very important. Email was rated similarly by 50 percent of respondents and asset management by 36 percent.

The survey found the iPad was the most supported device in government agencies (nominated by 73.13 percent of respondents), followed by the iPhone (67.16 percent), Android devices (40.30 percent) and BlackBerry handsets (33.58 percent).

Tim Dillon, director of Tech Research Asia, said: “The data clearly highlights the desire of government agencies to incorporate mobility into their business operations to provide better services to both employees and constituents. It’s pleasing to see the mobility discussion change focus from a preoccupation with ‘which device are you using?’ to actual outcomes around productivity and engagement.”

Tech Research Asia conducted an online survey of 150 agencies. 9.6 percent were Federal Government agencies; 23.3 percent state government agencies; 63 percent local government authorities and 4.1 percent government-owned enterprises.



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