As the Federal Government looks at another year of strained budgets — several agencies are looking at new and creative ways to decrease their overall operational expenditures, all while increasing agility for their workforce to make them more mobile and productive. What are the enablers that will transform these forward-thinking agencies and how they conduct their mission by the year 2020?

BYOD-First will become a viable alternative to GFE device procurement

Although Mobility is a hot topic today throughout the Federal Government, I believe the actual ROI of true Mobility has yet to be seen. Today the majority of agencies are procuring, managing and using iOS/Android devices the same way they have done with Blackberries in years past – in a classic GFE model. Although these new devices are much more user-friendly, this model hasn’t changed the game in terms of strategy or cost savings.

BYOD in some form will drive monumental cost-savings by enabling a personal device for Government business that employees are already carrying around. Subsidized device purchases, carrier plans and HW support will help agencies “share” the cost of these devices while enabling workers to use the latest and greatest technology. This model is bound to extend beyond just smartphones and tablets to include any type of personal device – PC Laptops, Macbooks, and even Chromebooks. The Alcohol, Tobacco, and Trade Bureau has already saved millions on GFE device refresh by shifting to this type of BYOD model. Although there are still Legal and Privacy policy obstacles preventing broad adoption today, cross-agency councils and working groups will be the key to establishing a standard level of risk acceptable in exchange for cost savings. This will eventually pave the way for a sweeping BYOD mandate akin to the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.

Next-Generation Workspaces will decrease the size and number of Federal offices

Real Estate continues to be one of the most expensive line items in every agency’s budget. Several agencies, such as GSA are taking advantage of Office Hoteling, mandatory telework and shared meeting spaces as a way to decrease the real estate footprint required for day-to-day operations. Although there is an initial upfront investment to restructure a traditional cubicle/office workspace to a hoteling-space, the results once implemented are immediately realized in worker agility. How the IT services are built to support this new lay-out requires a radical shift to supporting an ‘ever-mobile’ worker which needs to consume IT services seamlessly from any location. GSA has already saved millions annually on real-estate by investing in this type of model. The way Federal agencies supervise workers day-to-day will also need to evolve to align with performance-based management, as the Government workforce evolves to become truly virtual.

Common IT Services will become consumed from the “Cloud”

Cloud has been a hot topic in the last few years, and appears to have moved beyond the hype cycle to actually translate to true cost savings for agencies, especially for core services like Email — USDA is a great example. Several agencies have already made plans to or have already migrated Email to a cloud service, over the next five years we will see the addition of everyday productivity apps like Office Suite Apps, Virtual Desktops, LOB Apps and Mobile Services all being managed, administered and consumed primarily from a Public Cloud. Public SaaS Clouds will most likely be the first option for smaller agencies, but we see the emergence of Shared Services centers and Gov’t Service Providers as a viable alternative to the Public SaaS Clouds in the near term. Security conscious customers such as DoD/IC will most likely require a higher level of trust and accreditation, but the overall shift to utility computing will drive everyone to the same goal: gain efficiencies of scale and drive the total cost per user of IT down to a predictable, sustainable figure.

What are your thoughts on these predictions? What other next-gen enablers are you seeing?
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