Bring Your Own Device, Part 1: Mobile Device Use and Government Workplace Implications

May 30, 2014

Bring Your Own DeviceIn this four-part blog series, we will discuss the growing trend of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs in the government sector, and the benefits and risks associated with implementing these programs.

At the end of the series, you will receive a complimentary white paper that discusses things you should consider when planning and implementing a BYOD program in your agency, and steps you can take to ensure your program is a success. 

BYOD govt 1

The Mobile Device Takeover

As you can see from the statistics above, taken from a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, the majority of American adults own some form of mobile device. And additional studies show that this number is increasing rapidly. In 2013 alone, the U.S. had a 47 percent year-over-year increase in active mobile devices according to mobile analytics company, Flurry.

With these staggering statistics, it can be difficult to imagine what the mobile technology landscape will look like in ten, even twenty years, and how it will affect the work environment in America.

Tablets, laptops, and smartphones have already become integral to employee workflows in many organizations in the private sector. And many government organizations are also implementing BYOD programs in response to mobile device innovation, as well as employee preferences, budgetary challenges, and efficiency goals.

Rising Public Sector Engagement in BYOD Programs

BYOD programs are receiving support from all levels of government. In the U.S., 84 percent of federal, state, and local agency decision makers are “striving for an always-on, agile IT infrastructure that can give agency employees and contractors immediate access to applications and information,” according to a 2013 Government Computer News survey.

Federal momentum

In 2012, the U.S. government issued A Toolkit to Support Federal Agencies Implementing Bring Your Own Device Programs. The toolkit is part of a broader Digital Government Strategy to help public agencies, “deliver better services to customers at a lower cost.”

Noting a range of “successful efforts of BYOD pilots or programs at several government agencies,” the toolkit spotlights initiatives of the Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

State and local innovation

State Chief Information Officers have ranked mobile workforce solutions a top-five technology priority for 2014. And as of 2010, 14 states have already allowed the use of personal smartphones for government use, according to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). Cities and counties across the country are implementing BYOD programs to increase efficiencies in hospitals, schools, and law enforcement agencies, as well as to speed response times for a wide range of government services.

School systems creating a BYOD workforce pipeline

School districts across the country are implementing BYOD programs to enhance student learning and achieve tech-related cost savings. Given the rise of school-based BYOD programs and the youth mastery of smart devices, public agencies can anticipate new, technology savvy expectations among the next generation of knowledge workers. This generation will likely expect authorization to these mobile devices in order to maximize productivity in the workplace and to efficiently achieve business objectives.

In summary, evidence of 1) upward and lasting trends in work-related mobile device use, 2) increased BYOD activity by city, state, and federal governments and 3) growth in the mobile-oriented workforce pipeline indicates that BYOD policies are likely to grow and endure in the public sector.

In the next installments, we’ll discuss the many benefits of implementing a BYOD program in your organization and the associated risks to consider.