On May 23, 2012, President Obama released a memorandum () to the heads of executive departments and agencies stipulating the implementation of a Digital Strategy. The presidential memorandum, Building a 21st Century Digital Government highlights the release of a strategy document formulated by the Federal CIO, Steven vanRoekel.
One of the areas that received specific focus was mobile.
The president said the following:
“…at a time when Americans increasingly pay bills and buy tickets on mobile devices, Government services often are not optimized for smartphones or tablets, assuming the services are even available online.”
– President Barack Obama
The strategy document, Digital Government: Building A 21st Century Platform To Better Serve The American People goes further. As an example of the priority mobile technology has within the strategy, the third paragraph of the introduction states, “Early mobile adopters in government—like the early web adopters—are beginning to experiment in pursuit of innovation” and includes a call out listing four major facts about the “Rapidly Changing Mobile Landscape”.
As part of the strategy’s Customer-Centric section, agencies are directed to:
- improve priority customer-facing services for mobile use
- to engage their customers within three months to identify the highest priority services to optimize for mobile use
- to mobile-enable at least two priority customer-facing services within the next 12 months.
Those of us who’ve been involved in either government technology or selling technology to government know all too well that grand plans often move at a glacial pace or simply die. With an election pending, all of the objectives in the strategy could change overnight. What is significant is the recognition that mobile is an important factor in delivering information and services to the people. Two of the four solutions developed at the recent OpenIowa competition were mobile solutions. So it’s clear mobile has a major part to play.
As far as this initiative, agencies have 90 days to publish websites (at www.[agency].gov/digitalstrategy), listing their plans and progress. We’ll keep an eye on these sites and report what we find.