This past summer, Chris Murphy (from DMI’s Big Data Insights team) and I had the opportunity to lead a workshop at the Digital Engagement & Communication Strategies in Government conference held in Washington DC. While the theme of our agenda was how to incorporate mobile technology into your mission, the session evolved into practical discussions that illustrated some common themes among the federal, state, and local agencies represented.
Lots of Websites!
Everyone has more websites than they know what to do with. Most of the organizations represented have families of websites that could really benefit from a unified strategy. The sites had generally grown out of need over the years but hadn’t been assessed for the overall user experience of seeking out a piece of information nor conducting a municipal transaction.
Because we’ve been working with many of our clients for a long time, we’ve seen this evolution from website, to websites, to too many websites, to a unified strategy around web presence. Our Anheuser-Busch InBev project included that unified strategy that takes individual brand or program identity into consideration but still fits into the overall vision.
Everyone Wants an App!
Essentially all the organizations present had a mobile app on their project list. The question was… to do what? The public is always asking for easier ways to interact with government organizations and that request often sounds like “there should be an app for that!” But is that really the case? As the discussion evolved some in the room sounded like an app should still be on the radar while others appeared to reconsidering if an app was really the right communication channel.
One good example of when to use an app is the FoodKeeper mobile app developed by DMI. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has long offered information on food handling and storage to the public, but the information was spread out over a variety of sources. By extending the information to mobile, smartphone users can now access all the information through an easy-to-use app while on the go. More information on FoodKeeper can be found here.
Mobility Is on Everyone’s Agenda
Citizens want to access government services and information from mobile devices. Citizens and governments want transactions to occur through mobile devices. Government want mobility to free their workforce from their desks and put information in the hands of those in the field- utility crews, police, fire & rescue, sanitation, etc. Ranging from “We want people to be able to renew their city insurance certificate online” to “I want my road crews to be able to drive to the exact coordinates of a pot hole”… Everyone had a use case that could be solved by mobility.
We’ve seen this in action at the Department of State. Instead of passing out paper copies or unwieldy electronic files of the Departmental processes and procedures, they now have easily searchable versions that were mobilized by DMI. An implementation that untethered employees from their desks and lightened the load they must travel with.
…and don’t forget that once you have decided to go for a mobile solution, it’s time to choose the appropriate technology based on your requirements and roadmap. So how do you ensure you find the best alternative for your organization? Our scorecard for choosing mobile technology is a great starting point.
As varied as the requests, topics, ideas, and participants at the conference… the most exciting part (for me anyway coming from the world’s first end-to-end mobility provider) is that these aren’t just conceptual technology projects. Each and every requirement discussed could be related to project successes from DMI’s mobility endeavors. These are projects with real world value and they are possible today. That’s the excitement of the mobility field.
Adam McNair, Chief Administrative Officer