Let Employees Use Their Own Smartphones for Business

October 23, 2011

The federal government was asked by outgoing federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra to move from asset ownership to services provisioning, and relieve its annual information technology budgets of hardware investments and pesky legacy maintenance costs. The Office of Management and Budget estimates that shifting to a "cloud first" policy will save $5 billion annually — savings that can be applied to software and help close the technology adoption gap between the private sector and government.

In addition to embracing cloud, moving away from asset ownership is a concept that is catching on with agency CIOs who are considering allowing employees to use their own smartphones at work. In an IDC survey of more than 200 government IT professionals in January, 44 percent indicated at least half of their workforce carries at least one government-supplied mobile device, and more than half of these responders indicated that at least 75 percent of government employees have at least one government-supplied device.

The Veterans Affairs Department has been testing the use of the iPhone family of smart mobile devices, and with successful processes, procedures and security in place, is starting this month to roll out support more widely for those devices. Eventually, VA will provide device-agnostic support to the multiple brands of smart devices used by employees. 

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