Obama Throws Down the Mobile Gauntlet; Launches Strategy For a New Digital Government

Naveen Krishnamurthy May 25, 2012 2

The long awaited publication on mobility, “Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People”  was released by the White House earlier this week.  The publication is designed to function as a high-level digital strategy blueprint across all government agencies.    The strategy’s goal is 3-fold as listed below

  •  Enable the American people and an increasingly mobile workforce to access high-quality digital government information and services anywhere, anytime, on any device.
  • Ensure that as the government adjusts to this new digital world, we seize the opportunity to procure and manage devices, applications, and data in smart, secure and affordable ways.
  • Unlock the power of government data to spur innovation across our Nation and improve the quality of services for the American people.

The document itself is chock-full of more buzz words than a disruptathon breakout session. That said, there are some valuable themes that will resonate with digital influencers in the government.     These come in the form of the strategic approaches listed below which are designed to help foster innovation to more quickly attain the digital goals of government agencies:

1. An “Information-Centric” Approach

Moving us from managing “documents” to managing discrete pieces of open data and content. Which can be tagged, shared, secured, mashed up and presented in the way that is most useful for the consumer of that information.

2. A “Shared Platform” Approach

Helps Federal and Industry work together, both within and across agencies, to reduce costs, streamline development, apply uniform standards, and ensure consistency in how we create and deliver information.

3. A “Customer-Centric” Approach

Influences how both government and priviate sector create, manage, and present data through websites, mobile applications, raw data sets, and other modes of delivery. Most importantly allows customers to shape, share and consume information, whenever and however they want it.

But alas an approach is only a small part of success. The typical concern for anyone trying to implement against a technology focused presidential directive (remember HSPD-12?)  is execution.  Without the necessary talent, resources, standards and focus to execute on the directive, all agencies will ultimately fall short of the objective.

To solve this, the strategy involves GSA expanding its current efforts and establishing a Digital Services Innovation Center (led by Gwynne Kostin).  The Center will work with agencies to establish shared solutions and training to sup­port infrastructure and content needs across the Federal Government.

For contractors supporting this directive, we’re hoping for a robust toolkit including; both iOS and Android mobile platform support,  mobile development frameworks and  best practices is created and shared so each new project is not a reinvention of the wheel. In addition, before many agencies can gain momentum in meeting the directive, they need to refocus on fundamental mobility issues such as providing mobile network access (wireless, 3g etc) within agencies as well as ambiguous mobile guidelines that are currently hampering grass-roots innovation within agencies.

YOUR TURN:

What was your initial reaction to the government’s bold mobile initiatives?  Do you think the government has finally designed an executable digital strategy or do you think the this is all great in theory but are seriously questioning the governments ability to attract the necessary talent, widespread internal acceptance and ultimate ability to implement such a bold initiative?

***Look for upcoming blog posts as we track how agencies perform against the milestones put forth, and dig a little deeper into how mobile is proliferating the government landscape***

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