A Few Agencies Use Internal Apps to Boost Mobility, Collaboration

Most are still mapping out their mobile strategies.

Agencies are still in the early stages of mobile app development and adoption, with most strained by the lack of staff, leadership and resources to develop enterprise mobile apps and stores, according to a new report.

The new guide – “Making Mobile Matter” – released Wednesday by GovLoop, found that most agencies do not yet have a mobile strategy in place. Only 25 percent said they have a mobile strategy, while 26 percent said they are developing one. Those results are based on a GovLoop survey of 155 government innovators and employees leveraging mobile.

In addition, the majority of agencies (73 percent) have not leveraged mobile apps for internal use, and most (87 percent) are not planning to adopt or develop internal apps.

Among organizations that have developed internal apps, 22 percent created apps that enable mobility for employees, allowing them to access work anywhere and anytime. Other popular applications that have been developed allow agencies to facilitate collaboration among staff and project teams (22 percent) and collect feedback from staff and stakeholders (19 percent). 

Despite agencies still being in the early stages, many respondents touted the benefits of mobile adoption, including the ability to connect field workers (30 percent), encourage real time collaboration (27 percent), cut costs (22 percent) and facilitate telework (20 percent), GovLoop found.

Those benefits aside, respondents cited budget (44 percent), leadership (42 percent) and staffing (14 percent) as the greatest challenges in adopting a mobile strategy.

One federal agency that is moving to implement a mobile strategy is the Transportation Security Administration, which is working on an app that will connect field workers with those at headquarters.

Neil Bonner, program manager for applications development at TSA, said in the report that one of the greatest challenges for TSA is finding in-house skills that can effectively execute a mobile strategy.

“When we are talking about smart apps, smart phones and tablets, they are relatively new compared to a lot of other technology,” Bonner said. “The skill set in most government agencies to manage programs for mobile is not there, but these skills are essential to execute mobile programs."

That’s why it’s essential for agencies to “identify a champion” to take on mobile initiatives, Bonner said.