Wyoming has become the first state government to do an enterprisewide rollout of Google Apps, Gov. Matt Mead and company executives announced at a press conference Wednesday, June 22.

By moving 10,000 state employees to Google’s cloud-based e-mail and productivity suite, Mead said the new tools will enable improved communication and collaboration, and provide better storage capacity and cyber-security protection.

“And what it’s ultimately going to do is provide the state of Wyoming — that is, our public employees, my office, every state and public employee — the opportunity to do our job better, because we now have a better tool,” Mead said.

The state expects to save more than $1 million annually — a figure that state CIO Flint Waters said was very conservative when improved employee productivity and server and licensing costs are factored in.

The state had been operating 13 different e-mail platforms in its executive branch agencies before the migration.

“Just looking at the number of staff alone that were dedicated to handling the mail solutions when they were disparate across agencies, you’re going to see a dramatic change in the amount of personnel required by the state,” Waters said. Dedicated staff to maintain each system won’t be needed anymore.

The state budgeted $5 million for the conversion to Google Apps, and Waters said the state is well on its way to coming in below that amount. The state did not lock itself in a long-term contract with Google in order to keep the vendor accountable, he said.

David Girouard, president of Google Enterprise, credited Mead’s office for volunteering to be the first Wyoming entity to move to the company’s platform. “Transitions are not always easy for people, but to have leadership take charge and say, ‘We’re going to do this,’ is really a critical sign of success that we look for whenever we engage,” Girouard said.

Wyoming’s move to Google took less than one year. Officials announced the project last October after a two-year procurement that awarded the contract to Google integrator Tempus Nova.

Waters, who was named state CIO last month after a decorated career in law enforcement IT, said the Google implementation is an example of how the state will be moving into cloud computing.

 Video: Wyoming-Google partnership announcement

Matt Williams Matt Williams  |  Contributing Writer

Matt Williams was previously the news editor of Govtech.com, and is now a contributor to Government Technology and Public CIO magazines.