Mobility has been a component in the General Services Administration’s push towards IT modernization for years, and in 2019, the agency plans to make it a factor in its agile development process.
GSA CIO David Shive said Tuesday that after exploring the productivity gains that could be achieved by giving employees work access through mobile devices, the agency will incorporate it in its DevSecOps process for future development.
“We did mobility. We’re are a mobile-enabled organization,” he said at the 2018 VMware Public Sector Innovation Summit, sponsored by FedScoop. “But as we introduce new capability into the organization, mobility is one of the key components in the ideation phase, in the development phase, in the delivery phase, in the integration of new capability phase all the way to the end.”
DevSecOps is an agile development philosophy that incorporates an organization’s engineering, operations and security components to quickly design and onboard new technology capabilities, with each stakeholder providing input and incremental development to ensure success.
Federal agencies have been trying to instill DevSecOps practices to ensure the efficient integration of new technologies into their IT environments, but Shive said that the increasing use of mobile devices means that GSA will make them a part of its agile planning processes.
“We’re driving mobility into every single part of not just the technology we use, but the business process that we use,” he said.
That includes in category management, where Shive said GSA is “doubling down” on the mobility services it will provide to other federal agencies.
“To my federal government partners in the room, don’t feel like you have to do this by yourselves,” he said. “We have the playbooks, we have the experience, we can help you make that pivot to a mobile-enabled workforce.”
The emphasis on mobility is essential, Shive said, because of the growing proliferation of mobile devices and the expectation of citizens to be able to access government services on the platform. He cited real-time analytics that showed of the more than 300,000 users accessing federal websites while he was speaking, almost half of them were doing it through a mobile device.
“When you know that nearly half your constituency is touching you with mobile devices, that lets you know that this is something that we should pay attention to,” he said.
But while mobility’s growth makes it a priority for GSA to capitalize on, it also spotlights the thorny issue of bring your own device (BYOD) programs for federal employees. Shive said that there remain challenges to BYOD, such as the financial considerations, but he called it a “no-brainer” from a usability standpoint.
He added that if federal agencies are looking to infuse more mobility into their operations but are worried about the challenge of ensuring security, GSA and other agency and industry partners can help.
“There are tools out there that are FedRAMP-certified, that are codified for federal service,” he said. “Look for best practices out in the federal space. GSA is not the only place with successful mobility programs. From a practical standpoint, find others that have done this and ask them questions.”