The city of Boston strives to be known as a hip, tech-centered city. In efforts to save money and improve communications efficiency, all of the city’s 76,000 employees were recently introduced to Google’s cloud. This means that employees can access their documents, applications and Boston.gov email from any device at any time. The migration took place because Boston’s old aging communications infrastructure was built on Microsoft Exchange. Studies shows that the city could save money by migrating to a cloud platform. The city moved the existing 20 million emails of its employees onto the Google Cloud without incident. The migration to the Google Cloud also allows the Boston school system to provide its students with full email capabilities as well as a productivity suite that can be accessed from any computer anywhere in the world.
Since so many users are already familiar with Google apps and services, the transition was quick and the learning curve was low. Bill Oates is the CIO for the City of Boston. He candidly commented on the migration by saying, “Our new unified, cloud-based communication system is [a] 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.”
The city announced this migration to the cloud back in May of 2013 and the total cost of the migration was $800,000. Analysts predict that this move to the cloud will increase efficiency and protect privacy as well as cut IT costs. Oates was also quoted as saying, “We are confident Google’s secure, FISMA-compliant cloud environment ensures that city data is safe and private.” Google seems to have a low barrier of entry and this should make it enticing for other local school systems and governments to begin adapting Google Cloud Apps as an effective means to improve a city’s ability to collaborate.