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The City of Mesquite has gone Google

Posted by Dirk Marshall, IT Manager for the City of Mesquite

Editors note: Today our guest blogger is Dirk Marshall, IT Manager for the City of Mesquite, Nevada. We’ll hear from Dirk on the benefits the city is enjoying by migrating 180 users to Google Apps.

Situated in picturesque Clark County, Nevada, the City of Mesquite features a thriving community, seven premier golf courses, lush casino resorts and a growing population of happy retirees.

Faced with growing budget constraints, the City was ready to upgrade its aging infrastructure and reduce IT overhead costs. We were looking specifically for a better way to align our technology with the productivity needs of our employees and simplify our IT systems. We were already maintaining two networks, Microsoft and Novell GroupWise, to meet our needs. As you can imagine, the licensing and maintenance fees for two different sets of servers were quite high.

The City of Mesquite has 180 employees, all of whom rely extensively on email and calendar. For example, there is heavy calendar sharing between management and their assistants, and many departments rely on resource scheduling for conference rooms and technical properties. During our cloud technology evaluation process, we focused on finding a platform that could maintain or enhance these features. Google Apps proved to be a cost-effective suite of applications that supported our work flows.

The switch to Google Apps has been widely accepted by city employees. Compared to Novell GroupWise, email management is easier and we have improved collaboration. Employees can co-edit documents in real time from different locations using Google Docs, which greatly reduces our need to meet face-to-face for certain projects. They also benefit from being able to access applications, emails and files from their mobile devices. The city departments used to send monthly PDF reports to the Mayor and Council, but now they are using Google Sites to share department news updates and statistics in a more graphical and easily accessible way.

The Google Apps platform has been both flexible and incredibly easy to use. With the help of our Google Apps implementation partner SADA Systems, we developed custom tools to easily activate important features and calendars for new users. This allows our employees to get up to speed more quickly and start collaborating productively sooner.

In addition to realizing important cost savings, we were also able to simplify our IT infrastructure and free up IT admin resources by moving to the cloud. The tedious and time consuming email backups and data recovery processes were eliminated. We were able to get rid of our Novell-dedicated servers and reduce our on-premise server count by six. With the time and resources saved, our IT team can focus on other critical missions to better support our government.