MARICOPA COUNTY EARNS NATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR MARICOPA HEALTHY MOBILE APP

WASHINGTON – Maricopa County Dept. of Public Health Nutrition & Physical Activity has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents.

NACo recognized “Healthy Eating and Active Living are a SNAP with Mobile Technology” in the category of Information Technology.  The iPhone App and Android App was developed by Apptology.

NACo President Bryan Desloge said, “Counties overcome complex challenges, provide essential services and constantly do more with less. We applaud these Achievement Award-winning counties for outstanding efforts to improve residents’ quality of life.”

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

NACo will recognize award-winning counties at its 2017 Annual Conference and Exposition July 21–24 in Franklin County, Ohio.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Award Program is designed to recognize innovative county government programs. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.

###

The National Association of Counties (NACo) unites America’s 3,069 county governments. Founded in 1935, NACo brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public’s understanding of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service.  Learn more at www.naco.org

Public Sector:  The Risks and Consequences of Not Being Innovative

slow-computer-3-900x480 (1)

Image source: http://fti-tmt.com/

In the private sector, not being innovative can lead to the demise of an organization.  Giants like Blockbuster Video and Kodak are recent examples of industry titans that became extinct by not being innovative and adapting to the current environment.

The public sector on the other hand, tends to be risk adverse and unfortunately avoids innovation.  I’ve talked to several public sector managers and their mantra is to avoid doing something that will put them on the front page of the local newspaper.  Hence the focus becomes maintaining the status quo.  However, there are risks and consequences of not being innovative:

Not Meeting Customer Needs

Although the government is slow to adopt the technology, the public, on the other hand may quickly adapt new technology.   Consequently, this may result in a disconnect where a public sector agency fails to adapt to the public.  For example, we are working with a public sector client on a project and a big issue is that they are still using a web site made in the 90’s. Consequently, they’re not meeting the needs of their population whose primary Internet access is through mobile.  (More about this can be found here).

Not Being Able To Scale

One of the main reasons that the private sector strives to innovate is to meet the demands of a growing population at a lower cost.   A great example is how the banking industry uses ATM and mobile banking to accommodate a larger user base at a lower cost. Compared that with a visit to the DMV; you have a choice of waiting in line for 45 minutes or scheduling an appointment weeks in advance.    When a public sector agency fails to innovate they also fail to scale to a growing population.

Becoming Vulnerable

If a public sector agency fails to keep up with technology, they become easy prey to the bad guys that are both creative and innovative.  Case in point is ransomware where hackers will lock out the data of an organization until a ransom is paid.  Ironically many police departments have become victims of ransomware and were forced to pay a ransom to hackers in order to get access to their data.

Increasing Cost of Legacy Systems

Many public sector agencies still use legacy systems that are decades old.  In doing so, they find that there is increasing cost to maintain them because their vendors increase the support charges as their knowledgeable employees become more scarce as they age.

Bankruptcy

Governments can and do go bankrupt.  Detroit, Stockton, and Orange County are spectacular examples.  Potentially, had they been innovative, they might have been able to become more efficient in running their operations, reduce cost and avoid going bankrupt.

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

 

Why the Public Sector Needs a Mobile Strategy in 2016

public-sector-mobility1

Image Source: Open Ratio

Let’s face it; the public sector tends to drag their feet with recognizing opportunity which is why many organizations overlook the power of mobile technology. There are several reasons why non-profits and public sector organizations need to adopt a mobile strategy.

Mobile Technology is here to Stay

The main reason that a mobile strategy needs be adopted is that the population has already adopted mobile. In the few short years following the debut iPhone, these devices have had unprecedented growth. There are lots of studies and statistics to prove this point. My favorite is that there are more mobile devices than there are people in the world.

Mobile searches exceed desktop searches

Recently Google reported that there are more searches done on a mobile device than from a desktop computer. This is significant because it represents a tech trend that needs to be acknowledged and adopted. If more people are depending on mobile for their needs, it would make sense to have an effective mobile strategy.

Google’s algorithm favors mobile friendly web sites

In 2015, Google changed their algorithm that a search done on a mobile device will favor mobile friendly websites. Based on points 2 and 3, organizations that have a mobile friendly web site will have an advantage over those that don’t.

colorful-3d-technology-background-vector

Image Source: Deluxe E-Vectors

Mobile may be the only means of internet access

In a recent study, mobile was the only means of access to the Internet for 23% of families below the poverty level. So for organizations that deal with providing social services, a significant part of the population they serve can only access the internet via mobile device.

Web sites designed for desktops are difficult to navigate from mobile phone

A good example is the California WIC web site. This web site is hard enough to navigate on a desktop computer. If you are in the WIC program, there’s a slight chance that the only internet connection you have is through a mobile device. Try navigating the WIC web site with your smart phone and experience what it looks like to have a poor mobile strategy.

mobile-power

Image Source: Mobloggy

When developing a mobile strategy, there are 3 elements to consider:

Develop a mobile friendly website

This will address points 2 and 3 previously discussed.

Communicate via SMS

I see a lot of communication from the Public Sector done via email marketing. Sadly, with an open rate of only 22%, it’s really a futile way to communicate. SMS, on the other hand, has a read rate of 98%. The good news is that there are a lot of SMS marketing tools out there that are relatively inexpensive. I’ve actually seen a couple of organizations that realize that SMS is a better way to communicate and employees end up using their personal mobile devices to send out text messages.

Develop a mobile app

An app can be a very effective tool to communicate with the population served by a public sector organization. A mobile app that is used specifically for a platform or device is what’s called a “native app.” The reasons an organization should have their own native app are numerous and as such, I plan to write a future post on why a public sector organization would need a native app.

UYODImage Source: Esign Live

Businesses will continually develop more simplified mobile solutions to increase work efficiency and communication. One way or another, this is the direction the future holds. I want you to take advantage of this trend by staying ahead of the curve and strategize how to most effectively integrate mobile. If you manage a public sector organization, I hope this post gave you some food for thought on why you need to adopt a mobile strategy and how to go about it. If you want to read on some of the common challenges in the mobile community, check out my personal insight as a modern day appreneur. 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.