Darren Ash: The Patient Path to Mobility

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Mobility is one of the hottest buzzwords these days in federal government information technology, but Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chief Information Officer Darren Ash plans to take his time in implementing mobile solutions within the agency, he said in an interview with FedScoop.

Ash, who will speak at FedScoop’s 2nd Annual MobileGov Summit on February 23 at the Hotel Monaco in Washington, DC, said he likes to preach patience when researching a new technology to make sure the agency implements it in the smartest way possible.

“I look at mobility in the same way I did with social media in terms of adoption,” Ash said. “We don’t necessarily look to be first, but want to take a calculated approach, make the business case, as well as learn from what others do so when it comes time for us to implement we do it right.”

Ash said the NRC is taking a “walk, crawl, run” approach that will start with a pilot program in the spring and then production this summer where agency employees already owning smart phones and tablets that meet certain criteria can opt into the program.

The goal, Ash said, is to be incredibly transparent in the process, giving employees the opportunity to use devices they choose with an up-front set of criteria and not issue or mandate a certain set of single devices.

“We want to learn from it, build on our successes and, along with paying attention to things coming down from OMB, plan a strategy that will give us a solid long-term approach,” Ash said, mentioning that architecture will play a key role in how the agency develops its mobile strategy going forward.

The mobile strategy will be key for the agency, Ash said, in part because of its mission in which many of the agency’s more than 4,000 employees work as inspectors in the field, filing reports on nuclear sites around the country.

Ash said he envisions a day when employees can work completely mobile, not being tethered to a desktop computer.

“Our goal is to architect a system that thinks about mobile first,” Ash said. “We don’t want it to be five years down the road and we wish we did it another way. We’re very focused on implementing mobile in a thoughtful way that best suits the agency.”

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Darren Ash, mobile and wireless, mobility, NRC, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Tech
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