Staff culture is still the most common reason for mobile working projects failing in the public sector, according to a new report on mobile working.
The survey of over 200 respondents from local government and NHS explored people’s thoughts and experiences with regard to mobile working. The survey focused on the technology being used from devices and networks to the Line of Business apps and the benefits and challenges presented by the introduction of mobile working.
It seems that there is a consensus that mobile is both more secure and more efficient than paper and organisations are rapidly expanding their Line of Business apps; 64% of respondents in Local Government claim to have specific business apps up and running.
However, respondents also said that the most common reason for a mobile project to fail is related to culture, from both staff and management alike. At a time when mobile devices are ubiquitous and used by all age groups, this is extraordinary and must illustrate entrenched attitudes or failed communication around the potential advantages for staff, the report says.
The case for mobile working has been proven; it is the people who are the biggest barriers. However, in the face of the evidence and against a background of financial pressures surely the time has come when this has to change.
Security and leadership
The report’s authors go on to say significant questions should be asked over just how secure the public sector is making mobile working.
“There seems to be too much unsanctioned use of personal devices for work purposes, and staff are downloading personal apps and accessing social media at will.
“A key reason why true Line of Business mobile working isn’t being implemented is because of management culture. It’s been said that managers fear losing control of their staff, but perhaps they are also fearful of imposing the stringent restrictions needed to ensure secure mobile working. But this can easily be done if there is the will to do it. Either deal with the security risks, or decide they’re not significant enough to need addressing: it’s time to stop making excuses and get on with it.”
The report concludes by saying leadership needs to be stronger if mobile working is to thrive.
“It’s the people involved who are the biggest barriers. In particular, there is a lack of strong pioneering leaders prepared to take the plunge and spearhead projects. This may be a generational thing: many of those currently at management level weren’t brought up in the digital era and may have an innate fear of technology. As time passes and digital natives rise to the top of the tree, things should change for the better – but how long will it take?
“We need visionaries who, despite these fears, accept the evidence and recognise that attitudes have to change.”
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