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Having worked in Government and with Government for a number of years, I know how segmented and fractured services can be.
Without centralization and often complete changes from current systems, disruption in technology in government will continue.

In this post I’m going to give just a couple of examples in practical arenas within Google Apps calendars, email and messaging.
Of course there is much, much more to the Google Apps system, including Docs, sites and video – I might touch on those at a greater date.

Before I go on and forget to mention it… what is the cost of such an effective, empowering, safe system? only $50 per user, per year.
Yes, only $50 per user – so, so much less than in house server administration.

Take your typical municipality for example – there are administrative staff, Mayor, Council etc, Police Department, Fire Department/s, Street Department, maybe Tax Collection, EMS and more.

Users need easily accessible, secure, user friendly interfaces. Users need access, not only in the office but on the road and at home too. Is your system mobily accessible?

I’m not saying to replace your entire municipal infrastructure, just to use what has been proven to work to streamline communication within departments and empower municipal employees.

What about safety and security?

Centrally based, offsite, professionally managed servers mean that you don’t have to worry about administration, adding users, removing users and disaster recovery.
What happens to your server and your email if your building burns down?

Google Datacenters are FISMA certified = even the Federal Government says they’re safe to use.

See more at Secure

Calendars:

Calendars need to be passed through to the municipal office if only for Payroll reasons. Why not have online based calendars that pertinent parties can access and edit.
To further the example, instead of a Police Department printing and editing a calendar on paper daily and hanging it in the office – base the department calendar online, giving Officers and staff access to it from wherever they are, enabling them to schedule vacation days with ease.

Of course, having a central, municipal, calendars has other benefits too – how about a municipal events calendar? garbage collection? Council meetings (with agenda items)? Crime watch meetings and locations?
Some calendars can be made publicly viewable (and only viewable) while others, naturally would be kept for internal use only.

It wouldn’t be a good idea to have everything in a calendar but giving your public access to calendars would give them the information they need to not call and bother the municipal offices and get their garbage and recycling out on time after a holiday.

How about checking when a building, meeting room or community room is available?

Centralization means that you can edit one calendar and changes will be made across the board instantly.

Embed the calendar into your government site and drive traffic to it for information.

See more at Calendar

Email:

Yes, communication IS key.
What good is one department within a municipality if it has email and the others don’t have email or at least the same email system?

Maybe there are multiple municipalities sharing a system – cross compatibility and accessibility are huge!

Imagine instant, global, secure access to your email, messaging to groups, instant messaging and more.

All fully searchable.

Also, you’ll likely never have to delete an email message – you get 25 gigs of space with the standard Google Apps set up.

Centralized address books give you instant access to user information. Address books can be owned individually or shared with groups.

See more at email

Who is using Google Apps for Government?

Find out more at: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/government/

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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.

Should his schedule permit, Andy is available to help you with your SEO and Web Analytics needs.