Thoughts for New Federal CIO Tony Scott

Earlier this month, the White House named Tony Scott Federal Chief Information Officer and administrator of the Office of Electronic Government. With a wealth of experience in the private sector, Scott has previously served as CIO at VMware, Microsoft, Walt Disney Co. and was chief technology officer for General Motors.

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Mr. Scott’s new role is to leverage his experience to help all federal agencies keep up with the ever-changing digital workplace. There are many opinions on what his top priorities as CIO should be as well as the challenges he will face moving to the public sector.

One of these priorities will undoubtedly be expanding workforce mobility throughout government. According to a recent Aberdeen report, 82 percent of organizations surveyed said mobility was a strategic initiative for 2014. Mobility continues to be an important focus for all types of organizations looking to enhance and streamline work processes for government employees as well as the public. In Field Technologies’ Field Mobility Report 2015, David Krebs of VDC Research says, “Advances to mobile computing and communications solutions are enabling organizations to exceed benchmarks in productivity, customer service, and overall collaboration and decision making.”

As federal IT continues to evolve, Scott will be faced with addressing mobility trends like:

  • Moving from pen and paper records and reporting to an all-digital environment
  • Discovering new uses for wearable devices across federal agencies
  • Finding solutions to manage data while balancing ROI and security
  • Protecting and safely sharing valuable data

Just like private sector businesses, government agencies also struggle with demands of mobile technology. Mr. Scott should work closely with each organization to determine the needs of their workforce. However, selecting and implementing a mobile computing solution for a federal agency can pose a number of challenges. Mr. Scott will need to ensure selected devices can provide the same functions as a desktop computer while also enabling the benefits of a mobility to an increasingly mobile workforce.

Today’s workers require devices that can help with all aspects of their job. Features like barcoding, scanning, cameras and RFID built into a single device enables employees in a variety of positions to take advantage of mobile technology. With the right technology, everyone from stockroom, warehouse, transportation and logistics workers to construction and maintenance technicians, can all benefit. Depending on the particular job functions, rugged tablets or computers may also be required, and security is a must for all government employees. All of these features should be considered to help promote efficiency and productivity on the job.

Wearable devices, including body worn cameras and computers are also becoming a critical tool for soldiers and security personnel. Similar to tablet solutions, these devices need to safely collect and share valuable data and also must be built durable enough to be reliable—no matter what the job requires. It will be important to effectively manage data, including finding ways to efficiently download and store growing volumes of video as well as protecting data against breaches.

As Mr. Scott considers new solutions, he will be tasked with keeping up with the latest technology while delivering ROI across all government agencies. While there will be many other areas of focus, mobile computing will certainly be a big opportunity for efficiency gains in government. With his level of expertise, we are sure Mr. Scott will bring new and innovative ideas to government to expand their digital workforce.