Viewpoints

Mobility in the public sector

By Walter Van Uytven
 

Public administrations are seeking to engage new and younger talent to take advantage of a dynamic workforce.  Governments are beginning to take advantage of remote work capabilities, enabling their employees to work from virtually anywhere to enhance productivity. This not only means enabling simple, easy, and secure remote access to critical IT systems, but also accounting for bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends and expectations.

Governments must also respond to their constituents' demands, including instantaneous and high quality interactions. As a result, the technology governments use must optimize for this type of workflow, and also deliver key information rapidly to employees working off-site and in the field.

Perhaps the biggest challenge, however, is that public administrations lack adequately flexible IT to overcome the barriers they face. This is where organizations should investigate an approach that will enable them to maximize the value from both their legacy apps as well as newer solutions.

However, an appropriate cloud computing option can orchestrate existing and new systems from a centrally managed location, making it easier and simpler to enhance mobility. Ideally, it will also minimize the impact to the end-point (e.g., device) side. Any organization, should strive to make its employees lives as easy and as painless as possible. This means considering new technology initiatives to ensure that the solutions are as easy to install, manage, and use as possible. Is new hardware or software necessary? Will it need to be installed on each user’s devices? Will they be able to complete this themselves, or need assistance from the IT staff? These are the kinds of questions that can guide the process. Ideal solutions will minimize any friction, and help users take advantage of the technology without having to work too hard to do so.

Public administrations need tools to bring their existing IT into a more platform agnostic and mobile space. In terms of mobility, different devices may come to mind: desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. In addition, there always seems to be an unending combination of brands, platforms and operating systems, making it tricky to understand how to create a unified, seamless working experience across all of their devices. 

This is where platform agnosticism can increase productivity and enhance the employee working experience. Because they’re not tied to a single operating system or device type, platform agnostic solutions are nimble enough to provide the same experience anytime and anywhere.

Of course, security remains a top concern among all organizations. There are a number of critical security features that government organizations must consider specifically protect sensitive information and prevent breaches. Encryption is an important issue, and some solutions offer the option for agencies to use their own SSL offloaders or utilize a built-in capability. Secure login is also a must: multi-factor authentication is a standard now, so organizations should ensure they have this implemented.

When considering mobility, it’s especially important to understand where data resides and how it is managed. It’s most advantageous to centralize data and eliminate the need to store local data on individual devices. This way, if any employee devices are lost or stolen, no sensitive data will be compromised. In addition, this means added protection against viruses and ransomware.

On the off chance that something should go wrong, organizations should have full audit and anomaly detection capabilities. This ensures that any logins, application and SaaS sessions, and shared files are tracked and monitored effectively.

The key takeaway for public sector agencies is to ensure their approach to mobility supports their greater strategic initiatives, addresses real challenges and truly helps move the needle for efficiency and productivity. Platform agnostic solutions that make it simple and easy to bring legacy applications and systems onto mobile offer the most effective approach.

 

Walter Van Uytven is CEO of Awingu, whose software simplifies enterprise mobility and liberates legacy applications​.

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...

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Jason Axelrod is an award-winning journalist who has reported for The Seattle Times, The Arizona Republic, the Phoenix Business Journal and Mother Nature Network, among other outlets. Jason...
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