Photo: New Mexico Lt. Gov. Diane Denish

New Mexico Lt. Gov. Diane Denish's plan to save the state millions of dollars contains an interesting nugget about IT: Her suggestion that "switching the state from current systems to Google Apps could generate as much as $1.9 million in recurring savings."

While it's far from a comprehensive IT proposal, it could be an indicator of what Denish would back if elected governor.

Denish, a Democrat, is running to replace Gov. Bill Richardson, who is term-limited in 2010.

"While numerous cities and even the federal government are beginning to take advantage

of creative, lower-cost solutions like this, it makes no sense to stay the course with 'Cadillac' technology solutions for state workers," Denish's budget plan stated.

New Mexico's budget deficit reportedly could be as high as $1 billion in 2009. Besides embracing IT as a potential cost-saver, Denish's plan would reform capital outlays and prohibit "double-dipping" by state employees -- receiving a pension and salary simultaneously.

Denish's endorsement of Google Apps could be a signal that the hosted service -- which includes Gmail and other productivity tools -- is in the midst of becoming politically popular.

In October, the Los Angeles City Council approved a plan to move the city's 30,000 government employees to Google Apps -- a move L.A. CIO Randi Levin said will save more than $5 million. L.A. is thought to be the first government enterprise to choose Google.

Google's competitors have said L.A.'s migration to Gmail won't actually save money. Some critics also have said that storing data off-premise "in the cloud" poses a security risk, although L.A. officials say the company offers superior security compared to what's possible in-house. The company is building a "government cloud" that will partition government users' data from the widely used commercial product.

 

Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor