mobile management


SSA brings method to the mobile madness

No one doubts the power of a mobile-enabled workforce, but delivering and managing mobile devices and services for an entire federal agency is far easier said than done.

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The Social Security Administration used to rely on a wide range of ad hoc procurement and assignment methods for mobile devices -- until the agency's Office of Hardware Engineering created a one-stop shop for all things mobile, including devices, apps and services.

The Enterprise Mobile Provisioning Service (EMPS) pairs blanket purchase agreements for phones from Verizon and AT&T with a managed service developed and run by Accenture Federal Services. It includes ServiceNow, a front-end portal that handles catalog, approval and ordering processes; NetPlus, an expense management tool; and AirWatch, a mobile device management solution that handles configuration and security settings.

SSA has consolidated 94 percent of its mobile service contracts into one of the BPAs, decreasing the agency’s annual mobile spending by more than half since the beginning of fiscal 2015 and saving SSA about $2.7 million a year.

Once EMPS is fully deployed, agency employees will use the intranet portal to select a service plan, carrier and device model. Requests then go through the management approval process before the order is placed with the carrier.

“Our goal is to ensure Social Security employees have the technology tools they need, but providing the ‘latest and greatest’ device models is not a priority,” Mark O’Donnell, senior adviser at SSA’s Office of Telecommunications and Systems Operations, told GCN.

SSA is also able to better manage the contracts, analyze service plans, monitor usage and maintain inventories through its new mobile expense management system, and the agency can extend EMPS into other areas, such as provisioning of desktops, laptops, tablets and printers. 

About the Author

Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.


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