3 Great Case Studies – Local Government Adopting Google Technology

Within the last few weeks, Google has made quite a few announcements regarding numerous local governments beginning to use Google Apps for Government. Three cities in particular have been the City of Edmonton, which was the first major municipal government in Canada to use the Google suite. Two other cities where St.Louis and Columbia, Missouri. Below I’ve highlighted each of the three cities and the reasons they have decided to move to Google.

City of Edmonton

From a recent press release, the City of Edmonton identifies, “For the first time, those City employees who do not have an email account will have one as well as access to other office technology tools called Google Apps, such as docs, spreadsheets and presentations.”

The release identified that the City of Edmonton currently has about 3,000 employees in the field who do not have city email accounts. By providing them access to email, and enabling Google Apps, the city will be able to improve collaboration between departments, enhance productivity and drive efficiencies between departments.

“This move supports our City Vision, The Way Ahead, to use the most innovative technologies available,” said city manager Simon Farbrother. “We will now have a more inclusive work environment where all employees will have access and be able to share and collaborate in real time on the same document whenever they want, in any location, and on any device such as smartphones and laptops.”

City of St. Louis

In a recent post on Google Enterprise Blog, Mayor of St. Louis, Francis G. Slay, identified some recent changes to the city, and highlighted the reasons why St. Louis has adopted Google Apps.

Mayor Slay explains that the email system prior to Google was old, outdated and unreliable. He also mentions the difficulty employees had accessing email while not at their desk, periodic outages and trouble with attaching documents. Mayor Slay stated, “All of these challenges hampered our ability to collaborate among each other and respond to citizens efficiently – or to hear from them at all.”

The City of St. Louis decided to explore new options, and after evaluating bids, they decided to go with Google. Mayor Slay asserts, “The City of St. Louis selected cloud-based Google Apps for Government because it best suits our needs for a reliable, secure, and cost-effective email system. Our employees are not only able to access email reliably at their desks, but will be able to stay connected, anytime, anywhere. This will likely make them more productive; it will certainly make them happier. Because Google is a familiar and trusted brand (and many employees currently use Gmail for their personal email), I’m confident that this will be a smooth transition.”

City of Columbia, Missouri

The third city that has decided to implement Google Apps is the City of Columbia, Missouri. Mike Matthes, shared his experience as to why the City of Columbia has decided to use Google Apps. I really enjoyed reading about Mike Matthes and his story, he worked for local government for the City of Des Moines Iowa for 15 years, and then decided to take the job of City Manager back in his home state of Missouri. Mike states, “Columbia is a boomtown with outstanding quality of life that emphasizes the value of public services for the citizens. I find great joy in serving the public, partnering with our city employees, and supporting them as they work with the community.”

Once Mike started his new position in Columbia, he quickly realized that his emails could not keep up to speed with the latest technology, “When my iPad acted as nothing more than a paperweight, I knew we needed a change,” stated Mike.

Mike had some previous work with Google email at the city of Des Moines. When he started to look at services to upgrade Columbia, Google became an easy choice for him. “We quickly decided to move all 1,188 Columbia employees to Google Apps for Government after evaluating available email and communication solutions. With the help of Google Apps reseller Onix Networking, all city employees were flawlessly transitioned to Google Apps in April 2012.”

Mike has received positive feedback on the ease of collaboration between employees. He has also gotten feedback as to positive mobile communications. There is a great quote from Mike in his post on the Google Enterprise Blog, as he states, “Although most reasonable people dread an annual budget process, I’m actually looking forward to it this year because all 18 of our departments will be using a Google Site to collaborate and share information easily while preparing for the budget. This site also integrates a Google calendar that marks budget due dates with a countdown clock for all departments.”

Google has enabled many local governments to drive efficiencies and improve collaboration. If you are interested in more stories, be sure to check out the Official Google Enterprise Blog.

Google is a public and profitable company focused on search services. It’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Check out their Google for Gov group on GovLoop as well as the Technology Sub-Community of which they are a council member.

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