Of the approximately 210 million government
workers worldwide, only about 1 in 6 have desk jobs that keep them connected to
their city’s IT network. Think about that. About 175 million government workers—most,
if not all, of whom have phones in their pockets—are off the IT grid all day
and not receiving employee services. Mayors, you have a huge opportunity here. By
connecting these employees, you can increase their day-to-day efficiency, deliver
the services they need to thrive in their jobs—and help your city thrive as a
result. To get there, here are the four steps you need to take:
workers what they need
changing. People everywhere are demanding more flexibility in when, where, and
how they work. This shift is
spilling over into every area—even to workers you haven’t traditionally
supported with technology. These people—your police officers, bus drivers, park
rangers, and garbage collectors—may not have city computers, but I guarantee
they have cell phones. Hold forums with them. Ask what you can do for them. For
the cost of a couple pizzas, you’ll learn how to serve them using their phones.
When you open up new services to them, it’s like opening up a whole new world.
Sussex County gives
its employees remote, self-service access to payroll, pensions, and human
resources, increasing their productivity and their satisfaction.
new technologies and services
The goal is to enable your employees to work
seamlessly on any device—phone,
tablet, laptop, desktop, convertible, phablet, you name it. When you do, you
also must govern those devices to protect private data. Enable city workers to
access the data they need from multiple devices, yes. But also make sure they
access only the data they need and no more. And, make sure only they (and not
someone else using the devices) can access that data by entering the right
credentials. You also must be able to wipe lost or stolen devices clean. Other
important technology considerations include providing the help desk,
middleware, content management, and security-monitoring services that your new
mobile workforce will need. Here’s how Microsoft
your office properly
It may sound counterintuitive, but your office
change to support people who rarely spend time in the office. Remote
collaboration is big. Enable employees all over your city to work together by
equipping your meeting rooms with big screens and sound systems so they can
host Lync or Skype meetings. Provide instant messaging and videoconferencing
software. Down the road, maybe every room becomes a telepresence room.
And make sure remote workers have touchdown points—places they can work when
they come to the office.
Finally, as you make the critical shift to mobility, I urge
you to constantly look at what other cities, like the Ashburton
District in New Zealand, are doing. Pay attention. Learn. Share. I heard
a lot about this one-to-one collaboration when I visited the Smart City Expo in
Barcelona in October and in China last month. Cities everywhere are looking to
each other for guidance and forming mutually beneficial partnerships. What has
the city next door done to usher in a mobile culture? What can you learn from
another city your size about the best mobile technologies and services? Would a
visit to another city’s administrative offices be worthwhile if you could
experience their new video-conferencing setup firsthand?
When every device is an opportunity to provide
service—and there are millions of unconnected devices in governments today—your
opportunities are enormous.
comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Or
e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.