In the New Year, Hillingdon Council will become the first local authority to change to Google Apps in the UK. Over the coming four years, the local authority expects to cut its desktop PC maintenance costs, saving £2.98 million. Hillingdon local authority employees, all 3,500 of them, will start using the web-based business applications from Google early in 2012. The applications include documents, calendar, email and word processing.
According to the local authority, the cloud-based apps from Google will help the workforce work together and improve internal collaboration as it will be possible to access documents ‘anytime and anywhere’, collaborating on online documents together. Costs will be further reduced with the availability of Google voice and options for video conferencing, in addition to Google’s instant messaging.
Councillor Jonathan Bianco believes that the change to cloud computing not only provides better value for the council economically, but also places them ahead of changes to technology, maximising the potential of Google Apps. Bianco said:
“It also means we’ll have more opportunities to look at how we communicate with local residents and organisations in the Borough, such as remote working.”
Hillingdon council has signed up for a four year contract, with the possibility to extend for a further period. The contract has been valued at £663,000 over the four year period and the costs for IT maintenance have been considerably reduced.