Google Apps

The City of Boston has moved every city employee, including those working in police, education and transportation, away from Microsoft Exchange and into the cloud with Google Apps.

Following a review of the market in 2013, the city initiated a RFP (tender) process that attracted bids from both Microsoft and Google’s cloud teams. However, a selection committee composed of members from the City IT organisation, Boston Police and Boston Public Schools unanimously chose Google Apps.

The committee was asked to evaluate proposals based on both cost and technical capabilities.

Boston’s CIO Bill Oates said: “Our new unified, cloud-based communication system is pretty big change from our old set-up. Our agencies worked together to manage their mail environments, with resources focused on mail administration and working across the group structures.

“Our largest department, the public school district, operated on a very separate environment that was in need of a major technical upgrade.”

Oates explained that the old Microsoft and on-premise systems took up too much time and too many resources to persist with.

“Going Google on such a large scale has many benefits. We gained reliability and security compared to our prior configuration of Microsoft Exchange servers, which required extensive upkeep, upgrades and patches,” he said.

“The Boston Police department, for example, now has a reliable, scalable system that supports its 24/7 operation with Gmail’s 99.9% uptime guarantee. More than 3,000 police employees, including 2,100 sworn officers, use Google Apps to communicate with one another as well as to streamline reporting processes.”

Oates and his team have now moved more than 20 million email messages to Google’s cloud and every city employee has a Google account and a email address accessible from any device, anywhere.

Oates added: “We are confident Google’s secure, FISMA-compliant cloud environment ensures that city data is safe and private.

“The Google Apps platform now sits at the centre of our drive to infuse innovation in every aspect of city government and enhance collaboration.”

It was recently revealed that Google has also had similar success on this side of the Atlantic in the UK’s colleges and universities, a third of which are now using Google Apps for Education.