Collaboration changes are not a thing of the past
State and local governments have certainly been through a dramatic set of changes over the last 18 months. Workers went remote for the first time in history at large scale, and IT departments had to respond. An unparalleled wave of mobile technology purchases happened in a very short period of time as IT leaders sought to address the pressures of continuing citizen services amid the pandemic. And it appears that these changes will continue.
Ernst and Young polled over 3,500 people,1 including a mix of employees and agency leadership, to learn how COVID-19 has impacted their work experience. The broad survey confirmed that both technology approaches and workspaces are changing for the foreseeable future:
- 80% of public sector employees are looking for better digital collaboration to enable a mix of onsite and remote work.
- 60% of states and municipalities are planning moderate to extensive changes to their real estate or space arrangements.
IT departments are now adapting to this new landscape as leadership seeks to respond to a very dynamic set of changes in the future of work in state and local governments.
States taking hybrid strategies to the next level
CIOs are responding with new, more dynamic foundations that push hybrid work strategies to address new employee and citizen requests.
- Establishing new foundations to build forward at scale. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is preparing nearly half of its workers for “telework” as a default option. “… We’re now going to have upwards of 20,000 of the 44,000 or so FTEs in the Commonwealth be able to telework as a default hybrid,” Secretary of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance Michael Heffernan said.2 He also added that the administration had a concurrent “Modern Desktop Initiative” underway to equip employees with similar, if not identical, devices to ensure “universal network connectivity.” This new standard will reduce the costs of a more flexible and digitally enabled hybrid workforce.
- Extending collaboration to constituents. The State of Texas sees a version of universal connectivity that includes connectivity with its customers. Texas CIO Amanda Crawford notes that, in addition to tools like laptops, hotspots, and headsets, “...[we will be using] unified communication tools for our own agency and our government customers, which enable employees to make and receive their phone calls while not at their government offices.”3
- Tailoring devices for special use functions. Other states are now pushing beyond collaboration basics to improve collaboration in more complex functions. For example, Virginia Chief Data Officer Carlos Rivero says, “Virginia is going [beyond the basic tools] to add… remote workstations for complex workloads.”
Leveraging Device as a Service (DaaS)
As change becomes a norm, not an event, supporting the technology that underlies these strategies will continue to challenge agencies that are operating on leaner budgets with employees in remote locations. To meet citizen expectations for service amid change, DaaS models will increasingly be used to improve refresh cycles, efficiently support device fleets across the lifecycle, and reduce overall IT costs. DaaS will free government IT employees to shift from functional to transformative workloads and maximize citizen services.
Establish the new foundation
State and municipal IT leaders have faced unparalleled changes over the last 18 months, and it looks like these changes will continue as hybrid work models are refined to optimize citizen services. IT departments will need more blended strategies to work from home and work in the office, and IT departments will need to free resources to focus on optimizing citizen services in a hybrid work model.
Lenovo is poised to help. You can learn more about Lenovo’s complete portfolio of award-winning devices and comprehensive security solutions on our Government page.
1 Ram Venraktraman, “Workforce reimagined: A conversation with government executives,” Ernst & Young LLP, August 2021
2 Phil Goldstein, “Hybrid Work Is Here to Stay for State and Local Agencies, IT Influencers Say,” StateTech Magazine, August 31, 2021
3 Matt Murphy, “Half Of State Employees In Massachusetts Could Stay Remote After Pandemic,” State House News Service, March 4, 2021