Mobile apps still have long way to go in state governments

But Arkansas stands out with Gov2Go mobile app

A new survey released this week reveals that while a little more than half of state CIOs surveyed consider mobile devices and apps an essential or high priority, relatively few state government apps are mobile ready or are being used by employees and external users on mobile devices.

The 2016 State CIO Survey: The Adaptable State CIO, released at the annual National Association of State CIO (NASCIO) conference this week in Orlando and produced by NASCIO, accounting/consulting firm Grant Thornton and trade association CompTIA, covers a range of topics beyond mobile, including cybersecurity, the internet of things, cloud computing and hiring.

CIOs say that mobile devices and apps are a slightly higher priority for them within their strategic agenda and IT operational plans this year than last (53% called them high priority or essential, whereas 51% did in 2015).

Overall, only 10% of those responding said that more than 40% of their apps are mobile ready. Some 65% said that less than 20% of their apps are ready for action on your iPhones, Android devices or other mobile gear.

mobile apps nascio NASCIO/CompTIA/Grant Thornton

State employees seem pretty chained to their desks as well when it comes to accessing technology at work: Half of the respondents said less than 20% of workers are using mobile apps.

External users aren't tapping into government apps from mobile devices in droves either -- or at least we think not. Only 10% of respondents say that more than 60% of external users are using mobile apps, and 22% said they don't even know if external users are doing so.

Gov2Go in Arkansas

One exception to the mobile malaise is Arkansas, which was honored this year at the NASCIO event with a Recognition Award for Emerging and Innovative Technology for a "personal government assistant" app dubbed Gov2Go that is available on Android and iOS devices, and even on the Apple Watch. Gov2Go, which was developed by a public/private partnership called the Information Network of Arkansas, is also accessible as a responsive website, and plans are to integrate it with everything from Amazon Echo to Facebook Messenger, allowing Gov2Go to reach users wherever they are.

Gov2Go Gov2Go

The Arkansas Gov2Go app is even available on the Apple Watch

The Amazon Web Services-hosted app currently provides services to more than 144,000 Arkansans, reminding them of important deadlines on things such as car tag renewals and property tax payments, and enabling them to complete transactions online. According to the awards pitch made by Arkansas, the app "makes it easy for citizens to comply with complex state and local laws without having to know them."

For those willing to hand over their info to the government via the app (not that the government doesn't already have such info on them...), Gov2Go is being designed to recommend services to citizens that they might not even be aware of. 

And while Gov2Go is directly beneficial to citizens, it is also part of a broader scheme to save on government spending through use of advanced technologies.

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