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PERSPECTIVES


State governments: Go mobile or go home

Citizens want digital government in the palm of their hands. What does it take to go mobile?

The hits that are coming in to Michigan.gov—the state’s web portal—are skyrocketing. Everything’s coming in on a mobile device. Simply from a citizen customer service perspective, we need to enable all of our interactions to be doable to be done from literally a smartphone—more than even a tablet—because it’s all coming in on phones.

What we have declared as one of our strategies—mobile strategy—means everything legacy will be converted to mobile, all online applications converted to mobile and anything new will be mobile. It’s pretty much that simple.

One of the biggest challenges to delivering mobile services is truly culture change…culture change in how state government or executive branch agencies conduct business. You know, there’s an awareness, and we’ve been preaching it from an IT perspective: “This is where we need to go.” But with limited dollars, there needs to be an investment made to go mobile. There’s a heavy lift in the back end. The mobile stuff is the fun stuff—the shiny upfront. But do not forget the wherewithal it takes in the back end to be able to deliver.

If we don’t fight through those obstacles, quite frankly, we will fail. We will begin to truly fail in providing the basic services to our citizens. It’s that simple. They will not know how to access us—and won’t be able to.

"Everything legacy will be converted to mobile, all online applications converted to mobile and anything new will be mobile."
ERIC SWANSON

Deputy Director, Department of Technology Management and Budget, State of Michigan

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