Monday, April 3, 2006

More Robust and Cost Effective Collaboration: Google Apps


We switched in the Fall of 2008! The result is a lower cost (free) collaboration platform that offers far superior service and reliability than we could ever provide internally. Restructuring the school licensing proposals and reducing hardware expenses and power consumption costs saved $27,400 in the first year alone. Being web based, there are no time consuming client upgrades, compatibility issues and the training materials online are well documented for every learning level. Collaboration has exploded on campus as has efficiency. Shared calendars, work documents and creative use has skyrocketed. The IT department saves valuable resources as server costs related to email were eliminated as was configuration and maintenance time. Users are more easily trained via online resources and more IT Dept time is available for support. We also have more money to reallocate toward bandwidth. We have participated in discussions around the State on this shift and if you'd like information on how we did it give us a call or stop by.

Here is a summary of our original proposal:

In April, 2006 we introduced a proposal for an innovative program called 'GMail for Domains.' Back then, GMail for Domains offered free web based email, spam filtering, web access and a variety of sync services, and 2GB (gigabytes) of storage for each user. The service also sported a web based console for local IT administrators to configure options for users and groups. Essentially, Google hosts your email and all related mail services under your domain name (ie for... free.

Arizona State University and many other educational institutions, businesses and non-profit corporations(partial listing hosted by Google) jumped on to the GMail for Domains program and have since released documents on how the program increased collaborative services, streamlined communication redundancies and produced substantial cost savings (it's free). Shortly thereafter Google included many other services and recast the program as 'Google for Domains' and then later retitled the program again under the name 'Google Apps.'

"Google Apps Education Edition is helping Arizona State University become a highly flexible university that can provide extraordinary technology experiences for its students. Google's integration of webmail, instant messaging and calendaring is second to none."

- Kari Barlow, Assistant Vice President, University Technology Office, Arizona State University
Read the ASU case study to learn more.

" Our students approached us about a year ago, saying that we needed to improve our email and collaboration services. We actually had our student government tell us, 'we want you to implement Google Apps.' Higher education institutions have the opportunity right now to focus on their core competencies of education and of supporting true education. If other peripheral services -- communication services -- are being done by someone else in a best-of-breed fashion, why not take advantage?

- Wendy Woodward, Director of Technology Support Services, Northwestern University

Read the Northwestern University case study to learn more.
Read the NorthWestern Case Study to learn more.

Since 2006 Google has integrated many improvements like chat services, calendaring, blog integration, Documents (Word Processing, Spreadsheets and Presentation applications - all with built in sharing and publishing features), personal home pages (Sites), Admin Console additions and expanded each users account storage to over 6GB.
On March 31st, 2008 it was announced that Google Documents will now have 'offline' options for use when you are not connected to the internet.

Back in April, 2006 Gmail for Domains offered superior email features, services and storage capacity at no cost. Google Apps now offers a collection of integrated services and applications that rivals if not exceeds all other packages on the market at no cost. We are proposing that implementation of the program could lead to great educational and collaborative opportunities here at BBA. While the focus of our proposal is on the benefits to the educational community here, the cost savings enjoyed year to year could potentially be pooled into bandwidth upgrades, expansion of wireless access services and free up valuable IT Deprtment time currently used to maintain in-house services.