Mobility Spend in the Federal Space is Moderate

Published: September 12, 2018

Forecasts and SpendingInformation TechnologyMobility

Category management and mobile-centered policies may be part of the reason for flattened contract spending in mobile goods and services.

The business of mobility is expanding, especially when it comes to tablets, wearables and the Internet of Things, to name a few. Likewise, mobility expectations by customers and employees of federal agencies has gained traction in improving the productivity, communication and efficiency of the workforce and citizen engagement.

In addition to the Internet of Things, the prospects of 5G networks, cloud and enterprise Wi-Fi are just a few technical enablers in the expansion of the federal mobility market space. Agencies are also using mobility to aid in mission requirements. For example, Defense is relying on more virtual military trainings, the VA is incorporating more telehealth in its services and USDA is developing applications to improve inspector workloads. The call for workforce mobility backed by recent policies such as the Reform and Reorganization Act of 2018 and an upward trajectory in federal telework in the past 4-5 years also contribute to the likelihood of increased mobility investment in the federal government.

Nonetheless, reported contracts obligations in the overall federal space for FY 2015-2017 show a slow, moderate trend in spending for the acquisition of mobile goods and services.

Despite pushes for mobility in the federal government, a few factors may have contributed to this flattened spending including category management and other related policies as well as challenges in implementing mobile strategies.  

In 2016, OMB issued a memorandum which directed agencies to strengthen the acquisition and management of their mobile devices and services by reporting agency usage of mobile inventory on a quarterly basis and reducing the number of related contracts they used. Currently, the Mobile Services Category Team (MSCT) at GSA is developing a new structure for federal mobility to drive down transaction costs for sub-components of mobility. Moreover, OFFP announced version 3 of its Category Management Strategy to reduce 5-20% of the number of contracts in spending categories, including technology, by 2020.

While the reduction and streamlined use of available contract vehicles has likely changed the mobility buying landscape, agencies still face various challenges in implementing strong mobile strategies. These challenges include data management, training, legacy systems, standardization and most of all, security.  

The spread of mobility devices coupled with the Internet of Things has led to a larger platform ripe for cyber-attacks. Agencies are struggling to secure end-to-end encryption between devices and networks, securing its supply chain and face update management challenges.

For more information on mobility in the federal government, see Deltek’s latest report, Federal Priorities Spotlight: Mobility.