A new Deloitte study shows that mobile technology could help close the widening productivity gap between the private and public sectors. The research report, “Gov. on the Go: Boosting Public-Sector Productivity by Going Mobile” argues that mobility presents the government with an opportunity to hit the reset button and drive efficiency and productivity from technology.
Extended procurement cycles, high turnover in appointed positions, and uncertain funding often hold back the public sector from being able to improve technology and efficiency when compared against their private sector counterparts. Stronger mobile utilization offers the public sector an opportunity to make considerable strides at a modest cost, which can result in the type of efficiency gains already prevalent in the private sector.
The mobile revolution is already transforming national defense policy with the introduction of iPads into the flight bags of U.S. Air Force pilots. According to the U.S. Air Force Electronic Flight Bag Team, shifting away from paper maps, manuals and charts to an electronic flight kit led to a 90 percent reduction in staff hours required to build and maintain paper-based materials, saving 22,000 staff hours per year. Transporting less paper also means lighter planes, to the tune of the Air Force spending $770,000 less on fuel annually.
On a municipal level, report data shows that mobile data access can help police officers save 30 minutes every day. Assuming that half of the 636,410 officers in the U.S. lack access to this technology, adopting it could save them more than 50 million hours or $1.3 billion in monetary terms.
According to the report, public sector productivity amounts to approximately half the monetary value per hour worked than compared with the private sector. As budget revenues continue to compress or even normalize well below previous highs, this discrepancy will amount to underserved citizens at every level of government. Some government workforce watchers have predicted up to a 70% turnover rate as the ‘silver tsunami’ hits the public sector workforce and many professionals retire. The changeover may be an opportunity to modernize out of necessity, by leveraging technology like mobile to close those gaps.
US Federal CIO, Steven VanRoekel cites the difference in how the private and public sectors deploy IT as the largest single factor behind the productivity gap between the private sector and the government. “The private sector’s enthusiastic adoption of mobile technology has led to great gains in efficiency and productivity,” said Jessica Blume, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. public sector leader. “With these experiences as a guide, mobile advancement within the public sector can do the same. Taking it a step further, government agencies can redesign their business models by engaging individual citizens as co-creators who contribute information and services with their government, rather than simply receiving it from them.”