A Move to the Cloud: Boston Selects Google Apps for Government & Education
Improves Collaboration, Reduces Cost on Secure, Modern Tech Platform
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For Immediate Release
May 10, 2013
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Press.Office@cityofboston.gov

Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Chief Information Officer Bill Oates announced that the City has selected the team of Google and Appirio to move all City workers and schools to a unified messaging and collaboration platform later this year. This single system, based on Google Apps, will replace multiple aging on-premises email systems currently in use by City employees.

“By bringing city government into the cloud, Boston continues to modernize our technology while saving taxpayer dollars and freeing up city workers to focus on the vital work of helping people. Our technology experts will now be able to focus on moving the city forward, rather than maintaining servers,” Mayor Menino said. “I applaud the vision of our technology leadership and the efforts of all those involved in this process.”

The project was prompted by the City’s desire to implement a modern, scalable solution for city email and digital collaboration services. Boston has nearly 75,000 email users, including accounts for its 57,000 public schools students. These users have been utilizing different email systems, including several that are in need of technical upgrades.

“We are pleased to offer new opportunities for digital collaboration and next-generation learning for our students and teachers,” said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. “We were the first urban district in the nation to wire every classroom to the Internet, and today we are proud that Boston continues to lead the way by offering these innovative new tools to help accelerate achievement for every child in every school.”

The move is also expected to provide a significant cost savings to taxpayers. Currently, it costs the city an average of $8.25 per user per month to operate the current onsite Microsoft Exchange and Symantec Vault solutions. Operating the cloud-based system will reduce that number by more than 30 percent annually.

“This decision represents an important step forward for the City,” said Chief Information Officer Bill Oates. “We want to equip all City employees with easy-to-use tools that allow them be more productive and innovative in their jobs, as well as a system that can scale to keep up with the City’s demands.”

The City employees will now have access to a suite of tools many are familiar with from home including:

  • Gmail system for all departments;
  • Collaboration tools including Google Hangout and Google Docs;
  • Google Drive for document management & storage.

These tools will be fully hosted and managed in the Cloud, with technical support, maintenance and security provided with the assistance of the vendor.

A Technical Evaluation Committee, representing city, police, and school department employees participated in a comprehensive selection process that included a Request for Information (RFI), an open Request for Proposal (RFP) and the review of proposals from eight (8) qualified providers. Following a review of the Committee’s recommendations, the City chose Appirio Inc., a Google Apps for Government and Education partner.

The selection committee also looked at best practices of other cities, school districts, and law enforcement agencies. It found that government agencies in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and the states of Colorado, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wyoming have all had success since moving to a similar system. Chicago Public Schools also made the switch to Google recently.

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