The Mountain West gradually is becoming Google country.

The company’s blog announced Tuesday, Jan. 17, that Utah will be moving all 22,000 of the state government’s employees to Google Apps for Government. The cloud-based email and productivity platform also will be made available to Utah’s local governments, Google said.

When done with the migration later in 2012, Utah will become the second state to implement Google across the government enterprise. Wyoming finished its rollout of 10,000 users last June.

Google integrator Tempus Nova, based in Denver, will move over Utah’s email and applications for the project. Tempus Nova also was awarded the Wyoming contract.

According to Google, the Department of Technology Services (DTS) began looking for a cloud-based system in 2010 and ultimately received six proposals from integrators through a competitive bid process. The second-place bid from ACS State & Local Solutions, Inc. also proposed a Google Apps implementation.

Utah will be moving off Novell GroupWise, which currently is being used by the state’s executive branch. Novell is based in Provo, Utah.

State CIO Steve Fletcher has said previously that he’s in favor of a "hybrid cloud” for Utah that provides a mix of state-hosted services and commercially provided offerings.

To maximize the benefits of the state’s data center consolidation, Fletcher has positioned the state to participate in multistate, multigovernment cloud projects. Utah is in the planning stages of a new Medicaid Management Information System and a GIS storage system, both which would be shared by state governments in the West.

Google says its Google Apps for Government solution meets the federal government’s stringent security and reliability requirements. In 2010, Gmail was available 99.984 percent of the time, according to Tempus Nova’s bid submitted to Utah. Bringing the sensitive data of law enforcement users onto cloud-based email is one of the toughest hurdles to overcome, but officials said the Utah Department of Public Safety employees are to be included in the move to Google’s platform.

“We will be in a better position to become more efficient, improve services to our citizens, and maintain Utah's status as the most well-managed state in the nation,” Fletcher said about the state choosing Google.” Improved information technology services, such as the migration to Google Apps, allows Utah to improve accountability, reduce costs and increase services to our taxpayers."

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.