When the city of Orlando switched its 3,000 employees to Google e-mail from Microsoft Outlook in January, other governments were watching — most notably Los Angeles, which has since done the same with its 34,000 workers.
"I don’t want to have my people worrying about e-mail if I can have someone else do it for me."
— Conrad Cross, Orlando's chief information officer
"They told us straight out they want us to be their poster child," says Conrad Cross, the city's chief information officer. "We have had somebody from their office with us for six weeks. When we went live, they sent in an additional seven Google staffers."
With its budget cuts growing from 5% two years ago to 12% today, the city was looking for ways to save money. Cross says his supervisor, CFO Rebecca Sutton, told him "to think of this as a business."
Cross is also considering ditching the $300-per-user Microsoft Office software in favor of Google's "cloud computing" capabilities that are included in the $45 price. Cloud computing allows users to work on applications on the internet rather than relying on software on their individual computers.
One of the biggest benefits besides cost, Cross says, is efficiency. Google's e-mail access gives employees about 250 times more storage, about 1 gigabit for each user. That means employees don't have to clean out their e-mail boxes every week or transfer files with large attachments.
Cross says Orlando has been getting calls from municipalities in other parts of the state and the nation looking for information and advice. "We started thinking it was time to look at the alternatives," Cross says. "I don't want to have my people worrying about e-mail if I can have someone else do it for me."
For More Information: You can reach Conrad Cross by calling Heather Allebaugh at the City of Orlando at 407/246-3423.