Last month, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) completed the transition of its employees to Google’s cloud-based email and collaboration applications. In a display of both speed and teamwork, it took just over six months since the decision was made to “Go Google” for GSA to migrate over 17,000 employees and contractors to Google Apps for Government.
GSA oversees the business of the U.S. federal government, managing $500B in federal assets, 9,600 federal buildings, and more than 200,000 government vehicles. Among the many services it provides to other agencies, GSA provides innovative technology solutions to enhance government efficiency and increase citizen engagement. By moving to the cloud, GSA hopes to serve as a model for other federal agencies.
The successful move to the cloud resulted from the involvement of hundreds of GSA employees who volunteered as early adopters and training buddies to support colleagues in making the switch. These efforts were supported by technical implementation experts from prime contractor Unisys and partner Tempus Nova.
This teamwork is indicative of the collaboration these new tools make possible. The teams used a Google Site to educate employees about Google Apps, Google-hosted videos to share recorded trainings, and Google Docs to share timely information among the early adopters. GSA also introduced the Google Chrome for Business web browser to give employees a faster, simpler & more secure experience with Google Apps.
Good customer service is at the heart of everything GSA does. These new tools are empowering employees to find innovative ways to improve service. Employees can collaborate both internally and externally with customers and industry partners to solve problems faster.
On top of this, these new applications are simplifying the IT experience for GSA employees, especially when employees are working remotely. As GSA Administrator Martha Johnson has said, “work is what you do, not where you are.” The added flexibility to access information and connect with colleagues while away from the office – and on a range of different devices – is helping GSA teams be more productive in serving customers.
GSA expects the introduction of Google Apps to help the agency transform its business and provide better results for its customers by promoting clearer communication and better team collaboration. What’s more, GSA projects that moving to Google Apps will lower email costs by 50%, a savings of $15 million over five years.
For GSA, this project has been far more than a new email and calendar system – it’s about enabling a whole new way for GSA employees to work.