Headlines: September 26th, 2006



Mobile devices seem set to change the way local authorities deliver some of their services, according to new research. A report from ndl-metascybe reveals the latest findings from its annual council e-government survey, which examines the different stages of Customer Relationship Management implementation within local authorities.

The survey questioned 258 different councils across the UK to reach a better understanding of local authorities’ approach to CRM. The study looked at the perceived benefits, the hurdles councils are facing and the specifics of chosen technologies and found some significant changes in findings from previous years. These included a new emphasis on the integration of emerging and mobile technologies, which are now considered as part of the strategy for the delivery of improved citizen service.

Iain Pickering, the Product Director of ndl-metascybe said using mobile devices now plays a significant role for many councils with more than 68 per cent planning to adopt solutions utilising smart phones, personal digital assistants – PDAs – tablets or a combination of these technologies. Councils in urban areas in particular appear to be incorporating these technologies.

The survey results show that digital pen and paper, despite being a relatively new technology, has found favour with nearly a third of councils, which, the company believes, shows that authorities are open to exploiting emerging technologies when genuine and quick efficiency savings can be achieved. Plans for smart phone technology are also seen as representing a salient indicator of change within local government. Although the latest smart phones take in many of the features of PDAs, there is little interest in this type of device among authorities responding to the survey. Only 7 per cent are investigating the use of PDAs.

Mr. Pickering said, “The broad appeal for new mobile technologies centres predominantly around the potential range of cost savings and efficiencies they offer. However, these come hand in hand with a host of potential integration challenges. The only way to realise these potential benefits is to ensure they automatically synch with back office applications.”

He said the research showed that more than a third of councils still saw integration as a key stumbling block and more than four in ten councils admitted they still had no idea how they planned to integrate their back office systems into their main CRM system.