Mobile Government is the Talk of the Town

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Government Contracting A to Z

Government Contracting A to Z


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In this episode of Government Contracting A to Z, Kevin interviews Bill Roberts of BMC Software on how government agencies can effectively utilize mobile technology to implement a “Bring Your Own Device” model.

Listen to the podcast to learn how this technology is changing federal, state, and local governments.


0:04 Intro

Broadcasting from the Winvale Studio in Washington D.C. Welcome to Government Contracting A to Z. About letting the latest insights, trends and newsmakers in the world of federal state and local government contracting. For more on the Winvale, visit Now here's your host Kevin Lancaster.

0:27 Kevin Lancaster

Hello and welcome, my name is Kevin Lancaster, managing partner of Winvale and the host of Government Contracting A to Z where our goal is to provide you with the latest insights, trends, and newsmakers in the world of government contracting and government technology. I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule today and listen in. We're really excited to be sharing some stuff with you and hope you find a lot of value out of today's program along with the many more episodes to come. Before we get started, I would be remiss if I didn't encourage all of you to hop over to our sponsor's site Winvale find out how we can help you accelerate your government sales, marketing and contract opportunities including the development of your GSA Schedule contract. The site is www.W I N V A L Okay enough of the plug. Today's episode, episode seven, we'll get into mobile device management this concept with mobile government. And I am delighted to be bringing out one of our partner vendors, partners on our GSA schedule, BMC software. Today's episode we will focus on all the talk about mobile government movement, how federal agency adopting mobile technologies. We'll talk about the growing trends of BYOD and what it needs for everybody's mobility, how security should be taken into consideration for everybody networks and the various approaches in implementing the mobile device policy. So great contents today to begin; we would like to have our partner vendor BMC software joining us today. So with that I'm honored to have Bill Roberts, who is the Senior Software Consultant at BMC software joining me today. Bill is well respected and a valued expert in the industry of government technology. So a little bit about Bill; to mention he was senior software consultant at BMC software, and specializing in ITSM and Automation Solutions for the Federal Government. Bill has over ten years of experience in the IT industry across a broad spectrum of technologies, platforms and applications. He held positions or held IT management certifications from HDI, a secret clearance with the US government and is ITIL verified. Bill has worked in technical support, implementation consulting, project management, and Sales Engineering positions prior to working at BMC software. Starting in 2008, he worked in a professional services department at Numara software which was recently bought by the BMC software as a senior implementation consultant and engagement manager. A year later, Bill transitioned in Field Sales Engineering Position and is pleased to continue working as a Software Consultant for Federal Government customers with BMC software. So better than that but trust me today; you will be gladly to hear it from one of the leading experts in my opinion in the world of mobile device management. So Bill welcome to the show!

3:18 Bill Roberts

Thank you so much Kevin, I am excited to be on here with you today and excited to be talking with you and all of your listeners about mobile devices and how it's really changing the paradigm of how we as IT interact with our customers.

3:36 Kevin Lancaster

Absolutely. So you're a senior software consultant at BMC software. You obviously bring a ton of knowledge to the today's topic, over ten years of experience in the industry, what would you tell our listeners in your words, how BMC is serving public sector and managing mobile devices?

3:52 Bill Roberts

Well Kevin, as you know BMC software has been a leader for a long time in IT service management, IT asset management, and now we are really leading the charge once again in mobile device management. We partnered with who we see as the leader of all the device management, AirWatch solutions, to build out what we are calling BMC MDM and BMC MDM is built on top of the AirWatch solution and it's really a holistic approach to mobile device management allowing you to really treat those mobile devices as just another end point. Bringing them into the rest of the processes, your IT service management, and asset management processes that you're already leveraging your other BMC products, for such as Remedy or the Atrium products or things will most land and really bringing into the holistic approach that business service management approach that we take to IT as a whole.

4:54 Kevin Lancaster

I guess in simple terms, if I'm hearing it correctly I guess there is, certainly BMC is pervasive to fit at least inside of the public sector, federal state local. Is the concept kind of leverage the existing technology investment and then simply add on this kind of layered approach of the technology and it kind of mitigating the need to go out there and buy additional third party applications or is it kind of the approach I'm hearing from BMC these days?

5:22 Bill Roberts

You got it right on the _0:05:23_ there, so we are about 85% saturated in the government space both, state local and federal. And that is exactly the idea that you've already got the trust and relationship with us and we can simply expand what you are currently are investing with BMC to manage this mobile devices and bringing them into the same sphere of influence that you already have on the rest of your devices and the rest of the applications and solutions that you are managing with our products.

6:00 Kevin Lancaster

It sounds like, in this area of sequestration and budget cuts and happened to do more of left kind of a thing. It is something that has pretty good ROI story in there somewhere.

6:09 Bill Roberts

And that's exactly, yes. Instead of going out and establishing a new relationship having to go through the procurement cycle to verify that you can do business with getting new vendor and there's a ton of vendors especially in the MDM market space. You've already got the trust and relationship, you already have the point of contact for support and maintenance and services and you already have that understanding and you can just now leverage that in a new area.

6:39 Kevin Lancaster

Excellent. So tell me there has been a lot of talk about mobilegov, business movement you know what are the trends that you are seeing? How is mobile device management, the mobile device revolution I'll gonna call it. How is the adaptation within the federal agencies and if you have a followup to that maybe in the state local market place if you are seeing any differences between the two.

7:08 Bill Roberts

I think that it's not going be a surprise to anyone that's listening that the federal and I think to a lesser extent, the state and local government has been a little bit slower to adopt mobile technology than you maybe seeing in the commercial market. The trick of the matter is the mobilegov movement that you maybe hearing about I think is, that the indication from certain individuals across multiple agencies that are realizing that mobility and mobile devices are not just a passing trend, right? They are not some fad that comes and go away, and we are going to have something new coming in. It's truly a, like I said a paradigm shift in the way that our customers are interacting with IT. It's part of that consumerization of IT that we are seeing across the board, that our customers, the regular workers of the day that are leveraging IT to help them do their work now expect that they can do that work from wherever they are on whatever device they want to use and they want to have the same experience with work that they are having in their social or in their personal life. They want to have that same kind of interface, that same kind of use and I think that it's really what is driving the need for mobile devices and allowing them access into the government and for us.

8:41 Kevin Lancaster

Absolutely. I guess a couple of followups here. You hear this concept of, not just the mobilegov but then frequently in the commercials space you will be hearing a lot about BYOD, bring your own device. And you see it's a growing trend in the commercial enterprise mobility space. You see government agency adopting this BYOD policies and how do you guys can kind of fit into that architecture?

9:08 Bill Roberts

So bring your own device or BYOD as a lot of folks are referring to it now. You are right; it certainly did gain popularity in the commercial segment quicker than it is in the federal sector. I think that has to do obviously with a lot of the security concerns that exists on the government side and in the protection of that data that these devices are connecting to. But I also think that the commercial side was feeling the economic pressures quicker than the government has with. You mention sequestration earlier, we are under continuing resolution right now, I think we are all starting to feel that economic crunch especially on the federal side right now. And that is the real benefit to a BYOD policy. It hits that bottom line cause of doing business in a mobile environment. If you can allow BYOD then you no longer have to worry, not only about the devices cost which honestly in the large term of things is fairly negligible. The real where the money is and you talk to any of the carriers will agree that the money it's in the data, right? The data plans and the management of those data plans and the overhead that you have to have as an agency to manage and maintain and police and govern all of that data, that's where the savings are in BYOD. It's shuffling that off onto the customer or onto the end user, allowing them to leverage the existing plan because they are all hearing two phones anyway. I don't see anyone at this point of time not having their own personal device. They already have it, they are already paying for it, let them simply access those devices and leverage that in both their work and their personal life. And I am starting to see slow adoption of BYOD in the government space. But there's still a lot of renaissance because of the security concerns. And honestly lack of understanding of the technology that is available to ensure the security of the devices and the connections even in a BYOD environment. That's why for so long, government agencies have been dependent on some older technologies things like BlackBerry, and BlackBerry Enterprise Servers and that kind of knock-type of architecture where the vendor, the third party vendor is capturing all the traffic and securing all the traffic which seems like a great way to stay secure but the problem with that approaches, you've introduced yet another point of failure into the mix. So instead of having the same carrier dependent technology that the consumers are used to, we've now introduced yet another connection that could fail.

12:02 Kevin Lancaster

Got it, got it. I guess that does play and then like you're mentioning me of the securities and concerns. Holistically, what are these agencies, what should they be taking in consideration when we are talking about allowing old devices to access the enterprise networks?

12:18 Bill Roberts

For a long time, everyone was mainly looking at email, right? Email was the only thing that people were using their phones for and so that's the only thing we had to make sure was secured. And that's why you see a lot solutions out there that are really focused just on the email and not paying attention to the whole device but more and more we're seeing agencies develop their own apps or leverage some of the cuts, products out there that have mobility apps. And when you are moving into that kind of an area then you really got to start focusing on the whole device and making sure that not just the server side of your MDM solution NIST FIPS 140 compliant. But that the device itself has got the encryption turned on and has the right straight the passwords and things along those lines to ensure that the device side is also FIPS 140 compliant. And that's kind of the baseline, right? If you are not FIPS 140, you're not even going to get the sit at the table. And then I think you have to look on top of that and see what else do we have from a security stand point. Do you have the ability to change the access for each different type of user or to each different type of device and operating system and can you really make that security granular specific to the type of individual, the role that they are playing in the agency as well as what device and what operating system because we all know that every single flavor that's out there has as its own challenges and its own security concerns as well. So you gonna make sure that you are addressing maybe an Android differently from an iPad and you know all of that is different from how you may address a Windows phone and things along those lines. You have to make sure that you have not just full device security but also device characteristics specific security.

14:20 Kevin Lancaster

Got it so, we have talked on full device management versus kinda the sandboxing approach, how is that kinda play in to this?

14:28 Bill Roberts

That sandboxing approach was one of the most popular arenas when you were looking at just email, right? So let's create this kind of secure little bubble inside the phone and we'll deliver the email inside that bubble and the rest of the phone we don't care about, right? And that's great if email truly is all that's some concern for you and you don't care about the device itself, you don't care about any other type of access the device may have, but it becomes real limiting very, very quickly when you start thinking about all of the other capabilities that exist out there. I mean there is a ton of apps that I think are applicable to not just the government employees and contractors, but I think that the government as a whole really needs to start leveraging applications and mobile devices to reach out to the constituents you know out to Joe taxpayer out there and allow them access to their own needs for government data and their own questions and answers and ethic use and things along those lines and I think that when you start to look at that you can't rely on the sandbox, you really do have to start looking at and making sure that the device itself is under some sort of management that ensures that the device is secure. I saw recently that we were talking about rooted or jailbroken devices. It has narrowed not just a security concern which if you weren't worried about those devices connecting to your enterprise network before you really should be doing some research 'cause that's really the wild, wild west when you start talking about rooted or jailbroken devices, but now you can actually be liable from a financial standpoint for allowing a rooted or jailbroken devices accessed into your network for any damage that it may cause that in some way affects someone else. So it's become not just a security concern but you're also now starting to look at true dollars and cents they can be impacted but not knowing the type of devices and not controlling the type of devices that are accessing your network.

16:41 Kevin Lancaster

Oh, yeah and we know that the cause of a breach or a cost of letting people who shouldn't have accessed to data or technology. We all know the cost of that is 10x, 20x whenever x greater than the cost of implementing a program like mobile device management with policies and what have you.

17:00 Bill Roberts

Absolutely that's just the hard cost, right? Not to mention the soft cost or reputation lost and things along those lines that goes along with that I mean there are agencies out there that I will be mentioned up and not to mention them by name, but they are still reeling from losing laptops and things along those lines that still hurt the reputation even though they may have overcome the direct financial impact. The trust with the constituents and the public at large, it's gonna take a long time to bring that trust back.

17:34 Kevin Lancaster

Sure. So rate of adoption you know again we talked about commercial kind of being out in front and federal and maybe the state local now kinda getting up to see it not probably in some sense, some argue that the state local has been a little bit quicker to adopt than federal and I think those people would agree, but what you see the next 6,12, 18 months are we still gonna be in this mode of, try before you buy, pilot, pilot, pilot. Or are you starting to see agencies move forward to procurement and actually solidify their mobile strategies I mean what -- any sense as far as timing and see what market factors and budgeting and all stuff, but what are you seeing out there as far as trans and procurements?

18:27 Bill Roberts

Well, I think you are right that especially over the past year there has been a lot of agencies kind of dipping their toe in the water and starting to run some pilots and start to try to see what it's like within their own environment and really start to do some investigation. What I expect to see over the next probably more 12 to 18 months. I don't think we're gonna see a big change in the next six months, but probably once we get passed the CR once we understand what gonna happen with sequestration then in the next 12 to 18 months you're gonna see one or two large agencies go full production, right? And I think once those larger agencies go full production, the flood gates are gonna open. I think that it's one of those things were no one wants to be the first guy into the pool and so they are all kinda waiting there, testing it, feeling the water, it's kind of nice and warm ,but they are not really ready to jump all the way in yet, but as soon as one or two agencies jump into the pool you're gonna start seeing all of them really start to adopt because it is a huge paying point for every single one of them that I am talking to, it is a huge paying point for them, but they are all worried about being the first one on the block, so once we have a couple of the larger, especially a parent agency, somebody like this or something like that actually implement a full production MDM solution. You're gonna start seeing a much quicker rate of adoption leveraging a lot of the same security schemes and policies and things among those lines that were first taken by that larger agency.

20:08 Kevin Lancaster

Got it. What is the best piece of advice you have out there for these agencies that are still contemplating, kicking the tires they are looking to a mobile device strategy or policy what's that kind of that best piece of advice to get them drawn in the right direction.

20:27 Bill Roberts

Well, I think the very first thing that you've got to do if you're an agency considering having some sort of Mobile Device Management solution and wanting to start talking is that you first get on the same page within your agency about what it is you want to be able to do with mobile devices and that's a conversation that I think you should open up into your customer base, right? Talked to the end users and asked them what would they like to see happen with mobile devices, 'cause I think that you maybe surprise by some of the answers that come about and somebody the innovation and creativity that can come about and then once you have an understanding of how you would want to leverage mobile devices within the enterprise and you come down to that pair down list that everyone feels good about and build a set of requirements of that, okay, if we want to have this application and we want to have this set of data being made available to folks what does that mean to our security infrastructure ? Is their PII and that is their some sort VPN access, is there going to be multiple access points or you know what, what are those different rules and requirements around it, before you ever start talking to a vendor, because I'll tell you right now, all the vendors are gonna tell you the same thing that they're solution is different from everyone else's and can do more than anyone else's the truth of the matter is that a lot of the solutions that are out there today are leveraging the same APIs and the same connections and the same restriction capability because the vendors are the ones that are setting that. Apple is setting that, Google is setting that on the android, RAM is setting it on BlackBerry. So from a feature functionality standpoint, there is a pretty level playing field out there. So you need to understand what it is that you want to do and who is going to share that vision with you from the vendor perspective and who is going to allow you to have the support that you need and the integration into the rest of your IC practices. Now obviously I have a bit of a slant in there because I think that we have the best story especially when we start talking about integrating in the end. There is a lot like I said a lot point vendors out there, point solution vendors in MDM were the only ones that are really giving that holistic story and I think that, that's should be at least something that you talk about internally before you start getting demonstrations and before you start going to pilot because I have talked to a number of folks that jump had gone a little early have gotten in bed with the partner and then realized that they can't give them everything that they expected to have and now they are looking like they are have to change tack and that can be a little bit painful and obviously it costs them some money in the long run as well.

23:18 Kevin Lancaster

Yeah. Painful and bare thing and costly no absolutely, absolutely, but I can't make you an offer taking some time out and you know kinda give us an overview and kind of direction of BMC and how you guys are coming together with this kind of from whatever stand a single paint a glass concept to mobile and managing the traditional devices I mean this has been very enlightening, they kinda just kinda from the vendors standpoint understand kind of the trends and where things are going. So with that I just wanna thank you for hopping on here in the show notes, we'll certainly have links to BMC, their solutions for government page and that we'll be sure that it get those up there that way folks listening to this podcast have some direct access here. I am sure we will be asking Bill at some point in the not too distant future to come back on and give us a market place status updates so I guess look for that there Bill. I am sure the invite will be coming in here shortly.

24:22 Bill Roberts

Yes. I am looking forward too it Kevin. I really appreciate at the opportunity to come on and speak with you and if you have questions from your listeners feel free to pass them on to me. I loved talking about this because there is so much possibility here and if you do decide that you want to navigate over to the BMC website I really encouraged you to check out my IT which is how we're looking to leverage this mobile device revolution to change the face of IT to the end user.

24:51 Kevin Lancaster

That's great I think -- I'm sure we will have that links in the show notes and I think maybe with some PDF downloads for folks that are listening to this and we will be sure that direct any questions your way. So with that -- thanks again and we are gonna begin wrapping up the show and thanks for hopping on there Bill.

25:11 Bill Roberts

Alright. Thanks Kevin.

25:12 Kevin Lancaster

Well to our listeners be sure to get a full recap of the interview and learn more about BMC software by checking out the show notes over on the website Just navigate on over the Government Contracting A to Z page and you will see this podcast listed there with the show notes and links back to BMC. Also to our listeners, I wanna thank you guys for tuning in and really helping to make this podcast possible you know we worked hard to come up with the timely content and interviews that are really gonna invoke some thought that are heading on, the trends and topics that are out there today. So if you like what you've heard please hop on over the iTunes and leave us some positive feedback on the show that certainly keeps us going as I mentioned. For those of you out there who'd liked to follow me on Twitter my handle is @governmentsales. You can certainly follow Winvale @winvale. If you would like to send a question for me or for Bill or have a topic that you like to learn more about, feel free to send us an email at Again these emails and show feedbacks certainly help us to keep this show going and provide you, the listener, with more great content to come. So until next time, we wish you the best and hope your government contract initiatives are driving.

25:12 Intro

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