3 Reasons You Need to Bring Mobile to Your Agency

Modernization efforts have changed the way that citizens and employees interact with government. Citizens can receive real time text alerts about weather crises and government employees can update dashboards from the field so everyone is on the same page. Some agencies have been quick to adopt mobile policies but others are still struggling with making the switch.

So how do you make your agency more mobile friendly? GovLoop sat down with Jacob Parcell, Manager of DigitalGov University and Mobile Program Management Office Technology Transformation Services at GSA and Jim Hare, Senior Global Sales Director for Field Services at Microsoft Dynamics in the recent online training “Becoming a Modern Government: The Value of Mobile,” to discuss the benefits of deploying mobile solutions and how to go about doing so.

According to our experts, here are three reasons governments should move towards mobile solutions:

Citizens are using mobile. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and people are doing more and more on the go, individuals are spending most of their time on mobile devices. According to Parcell, “a recent ComScore Report found that mobile now represents almost two out of three digital media minutes and mobile apps are approaching 60 percent of total digital time spent.”

These numbers are significant in themselves, Parcell explained that individuals are accessing government information and websites on the go nearly 40 percent of the time. “People are looking to the government on smart phones and tablets so anyone that is working for or with the government needs to move forward on mobile solutions,” Parcell said. Meeting the people where they are at will be the key to better engaging citizens and enhancing their experiences with the government.

Mobile addresses challenges more efficiently. Looking forward, technology is one of the greatest forces that is changing how things get done in an increasingly urbanized world. Mobile technologies are allowing government entities to approach and solve problems more efficiently. For example, Hare discussed how a local municipality would fix a watermain break before and after mobile solutions are implemented.

Before mobile solutions, government wouldn’t even know about the main break until multiple citizens called to report it. From there, the city would send a service tech to inspect the area while residents are inundating the city with calls because they have no water pressure. It typically takes several hours to get all necessary personnel on site to start fixing the problem. Hare emphasized that this approach is problematic because watermain breaks are relatively common issues that cities face and there is not a streamlined and efficient solution to them.

However, in the digital age watermain breaks are able to be solved much more efficiently. “To start with, we are instrumenting technology in the field and using sensors that alert the central location to exactly when and where a break is happening,” Hare said. Then, instead of deploying an unorganized response team, machine learning creates a work order and identifies all of the key components that have to come together to mobile a response in an automated fashion. Additionally, the water department can look at a summary level report of everything going on in the environment and make real-time decisions while automated notifications are going out to the press, city website, and social media to inform the public of what is going on. Hare emphasized, “the fully automated environment cuts out a tremendous amount of resources involved in the response, making processes more efficient and effective.”

It’s easy to go mobile. Parcell explained that mobile moments are the times when a person has a problem they are trying to solve and they use their mobile device to solve it before moving onto something else. These moments are what governments want to target and develop an engagement framework around in order to enhance them. “The mobile moments framework helps governments engage mobile audiences more strategically because they are able to journey-map the process, promote user interaction, and keep an open mind,” Parcell said.

An example of government employing the mobile moments framework is TSA’s “What Can I Bring?” mobile website. According to Parcell, the TSA was receiving a lot of individual questions about what individuals could and could not bring on an airplane. However, they realized that people were not going to a desktop to seek answers to their questions but were looking for answers on their mobile devices. In response to this, TSA created the mobile friendly website that tells individuals what they can bring on planes.

The website is not only mobile, but TSA also conducts a daily analysis of terms people searched in order to provide better answers based on user feedback. Overall, TSA’s mobile site followed the framework by meeting customers at the mobile level, listening to their customers and incorporating feedback, and keeping an open mind surrounding what to include in the website.

The good news is that TSA isn’t the only example of government employing the mobile moments framework. If you still have some questions and want to check out the other examples, watch the full-length online training here.


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