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The Steel City goes Google

Posted by Scott McIntyre, Google Enterprise Team

The City of Pittsburgh has historically been known as the “Steel City.” While there aren’t any more steel mills, Pittsburgh has become home to over 1,600 technology companies and world-class research institutions like Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. These days, Pittsburgh’s economy is largely based on financial services, healthcare, education, robotics and technology.

Today, Pittsburgh reinforced its status as a high-tech hub by announcing that it will move all 3,000 city employees to Google Apps for Government. Google Apps will give city employees 500 times more email storage than they currently have. It will improve collaboration and productivity for employees while reducing costs and freeing up IT resources for the city.

“Adopting Google Apps aligns with our goals to utilize the best, most innovative technology in order to modernize our government, cut costs, and improve operational efficiencies,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. “Many of our employees are familiar with Gmail and will be ecstatic to know that this system provides the same intuitive and user-friendly functionality.”

Over several months, City Chief Information Officer Dr. Howard Stern led a team of experts in overseeing a competitive bid process and analyzing available cloud computing IT solutions. "Of the seven bids, Google offered the most competitive price when factoring in the costs of integration, implementation, training, and data archival," according to Dr. Stern. The City Council agreed: last month, they voted unanimously to support the switch to Google Apps.

Pittsburgh will migrate its employees to Google Apps later this year with the support of Google implementation partner Daston Corporation. Once complete, the switch to Google Apps will provide city employees with cutting-edge technology; all they need to do is to refresh their browser for the latest updates. Google Apps will also free the City Information Systems (CIS) department from the responsibility of maintaining and patching the legacy system established in 2003. CIS can then focus their resources on supporting other core government initiatives and better serving all City departments. CIS will also strengthen their data security since Google Apps for Government was the first cloud suite to receive Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) authorization from the US government. "We feel strongly that Google will ensure the safety and security of our data," Dr. Stern said.

Pittsburgh joins a growing number of other governments that have recently gone Google, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the State of Wyoming, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control, and the City of Des Moines.