Cloud: Panama City Talks Google Apps for Government
Google’s cloud productivity strategy seems to revolve around controlling three key markets: the SMB, the educational institution, and the government agency. We hear a lot of success stories from the first two, but a recent Google Enterprise Blog post is one of the first to highlight the benefits of Google Apps for Government. In this instance, it’s Panama City talking about how going Google helped them open up their government to the people. Here’s some perspective.
In his blog post, Panama City Network Administrator Richard Ferrick describes a Google Apps deployment scenario that sounds fairly typical: they deployed Google-powered productivity and collaboration tools to all 250 or so city employees in 2008 following a successful pilot program, and moved to Google Apps for Government when it launched earlier this year. It saves their IT staff the need to monitor and maintain e-mail servers and adds more services besides.
Now, Panama City uses Google Sites for their public facing website, which they credit with a rise in up-to-the-minute information and updates on civic issues. And it increases productivity for public employees by enabling them to work anywhere with an internet connection, says Ferrick.
But most interestingly is what the move to Google Apps means for their ability to stay transparent. Google’s trademark search capabilities mean that it’s easy for Panama City to respond to information requests from citizens in a timely and accurate fashion. And they’re using YouTube to stream and archive all city meetings.
What really strikes me about Panama City’s story is how similar it is to other so-called “Gone Google” stories. It really does seem like Google’s come up with a “one-size-fits-all” cloud solution. But notably absent from this story is any mention of the all-important compliance issue for governmental agencies.
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