Over the past few months I have spoken with a lot of CIOs, customer experience professionals, marketing professionals, and BT strategists in both the public and private sectors in Australia about their organization’s or department’s mobile strategy. This culminated in a number of meetings in Canberra last week, where I got a great feel for how mobile strategies are playing out within the Australian federal government.

While there is a broad spectrum of maturity when it comes to embracing the mobile mind shift, the good news is that everyone I spoke with recognized not only how important mobility is to existing business processes, but also that mobile will transform their customer base and their organization.

It was interesting to note that the conversations I’ve been having with private-sector organizations about mobility usually involve both someone from the CIO’s department and someone from marketing (sometimes CX, sometimes management, sometimes channels). Mobile initiatives are generally partnerships; while the business side leads these initiatives, they also involve the technology department. In contrast, in the public sector the mobile initiative is often led by the technology department — and often by the CIO herself.

This presents both an opportunity and a challenge. On one hand, it’s great to see the CIO and her department so heavily involved in mobile strategy, and it means that the technology department is driving customer initiatives and engagement. But it also points to the fact that many government agencies do not have a “customer champion” — someone who can keep the entire customer journey, and the various personas the department serves, in mind. The private sector has marketing and customer service professionals to focus on driving complete customer outcomes; the public sector, for the most part, does not.

In the short term, technology management departments of government agencies bear great responsibility: they must provide the best mobile technologies and platforms and develop the best solutions to serve customers in their time of need. In the longer term, government needs to give an executive responsibility for the customer and measure that exec not just on the delivery of a service but also on its quality, convenience, and outcomes. Many government agencies are already undertaking this process, but it will take some time before a truly customer-centric culture is standard practice across the Australian public sector.