Government deserves credit for mobility progress, leaders say

Government mobility doesn't get the credit it deserves, a panel of federal mobility leaders said Tuesday.

Government mobility doesn’t get the credit it deserves, a panel of federal mobility leaders said Tuesday.

“Not enough credit is being given to government when it comes to recognizing” how much progress has been made in federal mobility in recent years, Jon Johnson, enterprise mobility team lead at the General Services Administration, said at FedScoop’s MobileGov Summit.

“We need to realize how far we’ve come in such a short period of time,” Johnson continued, referencing that it’s been less than 10 years since the first Apple iPhone was released and about five years since the first smartphone that met agencies’ security standards was introduced.  

“Just recently we’ve had these tools that have been able to come into the federal space that actually meet federal spec,” he said.


“It’s hard in a regulated environment … all these things have to come together — security has to come together, the availability of the services, the availability of the systems, and it’s finally here,” said Tommy Petrogiannis, president of eSignLive by VASCO, a Canadian e-signature and identity management software company. 

Prior to the release of smartphones that met the federal agencies’ security needs, the government’s mobile presence was largely dominated by BlackBerry. So the transition meant a total backend transformation, Johnson said.

“At the same time, we’ve also transitioned our entire backend infrastructure to account for the security as we went from a primarily single-platform environment to a multiplatform environment,” he said. “Within three years we’ve transformed our entire infrastructure in a way so that [agencies] can now go ahead and create efficient applications.” 

The federal government is beginning to see this success largely because agencies are breaking out of their silos to share best practices in mobility, said Samson Teffera, chief of software-as-a-service at the Labor Department. 

“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Teffera said, pointing to collaborative working groups in which many agencies are learning from one another about mobile device management deployment, security and other deployment issues. “This is how we overcame [those] challenges.” 


[Read more: OMB looks to save $230M in new governmentwide mobile policy]

That cross-agency collaboration is the idea behind the federal CIO Council’s Mobile Technology Tiger Team, and it’s also helping push forward a new policy from U.S. Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung’s office on how agencies can more efficiently and effectively procure mobile products and services as one government through category management.

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