States Are Leading the Move Toward Mobile Government


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As agencies are increasingly focused on making their services more convenient, transparent and accessible, there's been a major uptick in mobile applications.

When you think of the earliest adopters of new technologies, government agencies, with all their bureaucratic red tape to get through, are not typically the first group to come to mind. But recently that stereotype has been turned on its head.

In the last few years, state government agencies have been leading the charge toward more mobile-friendly government, turning to mobile applications to better connect with their citizens.

The use of mobile technology to distribute information and collect citizen feedback is a well-documented trend within SLED (state, local and education) government agencies, with a 41 percent growth in bid volume from these projects over the past year. The largest portion of those bids and RFPs purchasing by government agencies is taking place at the state level, with just over 38 percent of mobile government purchasing coming from states.

“The No. 1 priority is the comprehensive digital transformation,” Hardik Bhatt, the recently departed chief digital officer of the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology, told StateTech. “It’s about changing how the state government operates and provides services, moving forward with the right technology and an enhanced focus on the taxpayers’ investments.”

Effective software and technology helps government agencies spark innovation and empower their citizens. In this environment, governments of all sizes increasingly are responding with upgraded or enhanced online features and functionality as well as new, convenient mobile applications. Mobile government was listed as a top 10 area of information technology in the city and county surveys by the Center for Digital Government.

In general, state and local governments are increasingly focused on making their services more convenient, transparent and accessible to their citizens by developing and upgrading mobile-friendly websites and mobile apps that can be easily used on tablets and smartphones. They’re doing this by partnering with firms like AppCityLife, Inc., a platform that enables governments—like the city of Albuquerque—to create affordable mobile applications.

Specifically, government agencies are creating apps for functions like replacing 3-1-1 calls to expedite agency response times, sharing updates on government activities to provide more transparency, and providing instant alerts for public safety issues, like weather emergencies and traffic incidents.

As the general public seeks more accountability and transparency from their state and local governments, government technology leaders are responding. “I think more and more interactions with citizens need to happen through mobile and other secure platforms,” said David McCurdy, the state of Colorado’s chief technology officer.

Colorado, along with the states of Maryland, Idaho and the District of Columbia, is involved in piloting a digital driver’s license (DDL) program. While the tests are in early stages, government officials hope they will speed up digital transformation within the states.

Another state moving toward a more mobile government is Texas. The state is taking a close look at how all its “citizen services” are delivered. The idea is that Texans will eventually have direct access to all state government services from any device, anywhere, at any time. That’s the ultimate definition of “mobile government,” and for many progressive state government agencies, it’s not too far away.

Nick Schiffler is a Market Analyst at B2G sales intelligence firm Onvia and is based in Seattle.

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