ATF CIO Pushes for a More Mobile Government
The CIO of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives outlines efforts within the government to mobilize the workforce, noting the benefit of increased productivity and collaboration as well as progress made addressing the security challenges.
Fri, September 13, 2013
CIO — WASHINGTON -- Departments and agencies across the federal government are increasingly warming to policies that would allow more employees to work remotely more often, inviting into the enterprise a host of new devices and collaborative applications, according to Rick Holgate, CIO of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a leading advocate for incorporating mobile technology into the federal government.
"That's really what's changed in the last five to 10 years, we've all become much more accustomed to having technology at our fingertips, having our own technology, and having the ability to do things on demand, in real time on those types of platforms," Holgate said. "We're also used to being connected everywhere we are. We don't have to be sitting at a desk anymore to be productive or to be connected or to have access to information and applications."
A More Mobile Government Would be a More Productive Government
The Obama administration has identified mobility as one of the leading objectives in its broad-ranging agenda for overhauling the government's IT operations, along with cloud computing, open data and social applications, among other areas of focus. To Holgate, though, mobility is less an end in itself than it is a vehicle to support a more agile, productive workforce able to connect remotely to an enterprise cloud and collaborate with other members of their team.
"All of these administration priorities reflect the importance of mobility and the reality of mobility and how the federal government can move more quickly and more aggressively to embrace and adopt mobility across the board," Holgate said.
In a recent survey, federal IT managers said that they expected that always-on access to the enterprise could boost worker productivity by seven hours a week, amounting to an average of $14,000 in projected productivity gains each year. At the same time, a large majority said that they were frustrated by the mobile situation at their agency, citing slow connections, security hassles and inadequate infrastructure as their chief complaints.
Mobility Security Challenges Can be Overcome
Indeed, the feds are well aware of the distinct risks that arise with a mobile workforce, where the long list of challenges includes lost devices, authentication and remote data security.