Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel today declared that the city will unite disparate municipal email systems and desktop applications in the cloud. According to a Jan. 3 press release, the move will bring improved operational efficiency, enhanced security and reduced costs, in the amount of $400,000 annually.

City technology staff previously managed three internal email systems for 30,000 employees. The consolidation into one cloud-based system for email and basic office productivity programs is expected to reduce outages and streamline application access for employees. Chicago's costs per employee decrease by 80 percent with this move to the cloud, made official by a four-year agreement with Microsoft.

“We are leveraging new technologies to streamline and modernize the way we do business in order to provide the residents of Chicago with the best service at the best price," Mayor Emanuel said.

While Chicago houses select city data in the cloud, including information used by the Aviation Department and the Building Department, the migration of city email and desktop applications to the cloud is the first citywide move of its kind for Chicago. Officials estimate that the migration will be complete by the end of 2013.

“The cloud strategy is a major step towards our goal of modernizing our information technology," said Brett Goldstein, the City’s Chief Information Officer. "Ultimately, updating the City’s digital infrastructure for the 21st century sets the foundation for innovation that will continue to move us forward.”

Photo by Bert Kaufmann/Flickr CC