How will mobility change the way you work?

17 April 2013 | Parul Bhandari, Government Lead, Open Data and Big Data
The World Bank reports that, over the past 13 years, mobile subscriptions have exploded from less than 1 billion in 2000 to about 6 billion in 2012, and that 75 percent of the global population now has access to a mobile phone. This obviously has huge implications for the consumer space, but it’s also changing how governments operate and interact with citizens.
 
Here are three key ways that mobility may shape the future of the government.
 
  • Telework: Long gone are the days of being tied to an office, and the idea that if you’re not at your desk, you’re not working. Today’s workers are connected everywhere they go – from checking emails on their smartphone to editing a PowerPoint presentation on their tablet. As my colleague Joel Cherkis recently pointed out, embracing a flexible, mobile working style can boost employee productivity, foster a more collaborative environment, and save money by eliminating siloes.
  • Continuity of operations: Natural disasters and emergencies can strike on a moment’s notice, and your workers need to remain connected and productive. Mobility enables them to function from any location, at any time, to ensure their jobs get done. Whether that means using a smartphone to order more emergency water supplies, or logging onto a tablet to access emails, the mobile phenomenon helps ensure that your organization doesn't skip a beat when normal working conditions are interrupted.

In addition, as the UN Global Pulse blog recently reported, data from mobile phones can also be used during a natural disaster to map citizens’ evacuation routes away from affected areas. Using this information, you can develop more effective disaster response strategies for your citizens.

  • Citizen services: As the number of mobile devices grows, so does the number of mobile applications available for citizens. Gartner reports that by 2016, smartphone users will download more than 300 billion apps annually – more than 10 times what was downloaded in 2011. Citizens are used to instant access to information they need, especially when they’re on the go, and this will hold true in the government space, as well.
Several government groups have already developed mobile apps, and I invite you to read my earlier blog post on this topic for specific examples of public-sector leaders in this space. Similarly, governments can make smarter decisions to benefit their citizens and operate more efficiently when they make use of open data, such as information compiled from mobile platforms.
 
There is a mobile revolution taking place, and it will continue to shape the business of government. It brings huge opportunities for your organization to become more efficient, handle crises, and engage with your citizens, and I encourage you to explore mobile strategy within your agency. To learn more about the government apps available on the Windows Phone, I encourage you to check out our app store.
 
Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com. Image credit: MIKI Yoshihito
 
Parul Bhandari
Government Lead, Open Data and Big Data

About the Author

Parul Bhandari | Government Lead, Open Data and Big Data

Parul Bhandari works closely with governments worldwide to develop IT strategies that promote greater insights and accountability, as well as to support forming more transparent and open government.