Civica’s recent report titled ‘Changing Landscape: Digital Transformation’ found that 93% of local government organisations identified availability of field tools and mobile applications as critical to their organisation. In the public sector, mobile technology is transforming processes by giving field workers access to tools that improve efficiency and productivity, resulting in time and cost savings for government departments and local councils. As an offshoot of this, citizens gain access to better, faster, more accurate service delivery.

In the face of increasing public pressure for greater transparency and reduced costs, government workers are now increasingly connected to office systems while in the field and accessing data on the go. Having this kind of situational awareness through mobility ensures that, for example, field workers can work more efficiently and citizens can gain real-time access to critical information or immediate updates to concerns or service requests.

Moreover, the shift towards ‘on-demand’ citizens who want e-government services delivered at high speed is most evident in the way governments are now looking to interact with their citizens. Mobile technology offers citizens easy, anytime and anywhere access to public services. From submitting an application, to paying a bill, to receiving an update, accessing services is now much more convenient. For example, the City of Rockingham recently launched an online community portal known as ‘Rock Port’, which enables users to interact with various council services from anywhere, at any time.

Despite such initiatives, many Australians remain unhappy with the public sector’s digital service delivery. In fact, recent research from Riverbed has found that 56% of Australians are dissatisfied with government digital services.

At the same time, there is increasing emphasis on the use of mobile working in government to improve organisational productivity and effectiveness to offer better service delivery. More than 80% of global workers believe that technology enables further productivity. From remote access to collaborative real-time updates, Australian government departments are looking to embrace this change.

And like private sector organisations, governments want an increasingly productive workforce that is delivering services outside as well as in the office.

For example, many field workers are now equipped with mobile phones and tablets to conduct inspections and update customer records even on the move. These allow them to receive and action tasks, schedule them and capture other critical information without having to return to the council office or depot. In the meantime, residents get status updates in real time and ensure a speedy processing of their requests. Meanwhile, this enables citizens to provide real-time feedback, which can then be rapidly actioned by key decision makers.

However, councils and government departments must understand that mobile working requires a change in mindset – implementation is not just an installation of a new system; change management will also be necessary. For public sector organisations willing to embrace digital transformation, a mobile implementation strategy is essential to meet changing citizen demand and greater transparency regarding costs and services. While it may be tempting to focus on the mobile customer experience, having mobile capabilities integrated into back-end systems is the first step in offering a holistic customer experience.

As mobile working continues to evolve, the key to transformation is preparation – it’s imperative for Australian public sector organisations to have implementation strategies in place to support mobile working and service delivery redesign.