The Digital Government Strategy directs Federal agencies to “seize the digital opportunity and fundamentally change how the Federal Government serves both its internal and external customers.” For most Federal workers, this is less about changing behaviors and more about translating how they use technology at home to how they use it at the office.
A new report, given by MeriTalk sponsored by Google, underscores the increasing consumerization of technology tools – even in the Federal IT environment. 67% of Federal employees wish that the technology at work could keep up with the changes in technology in their personal lives.
According to the study, 97% of Federal employees shop online and 93% go online for banking. 81% use web-based email, 78% use social media, and 68% use smartphone apps – more than half use those apps every day.
Nor is age the primary variable for technology adoption. More Feds age 56 to 66 use video conferencing/chat than their peers 35 to 55, and users 25 to 29 bank online more frequently than both older and younger peers. While younger Federal workers are more likely to have used tools such as video conferencing and web-based email longer, older Federal employees still have adoption rates greater than 75% for these same technologies.
“Federal employees are ready to deliver on the Digital Government Strategy,” said Dan Israel of Google Enterprise Federal. “Having experienced the value of a wide range of mobile devices and cloud-based apps and storage at home, they are looking for the best way to bring these technology tools to the workplace.”
In both areas of use, technology cost, security, and apparent value of new features and functions offered the biggest barriers to adoption. For technology used at work, however, insufficient training created the primary barrier to adoption (42%); a concern that ranked eighth when considering personal technology. When looking at technology for personal use, Federal employees are willing to learn it themselves. When directed to use a new technology at work, they expect enough training to use the new technology with some proficiency.
That said, survey respondents do not perceive adopting new technology at work to be inherently more difficult than technology adopted for personal use. Just 36% agreed that it took longer to get used to new technology at work compared to the time needed to get used to personal technology.