After hearing positive reviews from North Carolina State University, the Budget and Economic Advisory committee voted 2 to 1 Tuesday to approve making the switch from Microsoft to Google as the city’s e-mail provider.
It will be up for vote by the City Council July 19.
Councilor Nancy McFarlane voted against the switch. While she was supportive of a move to Google, she said she believed that this was not the right time, citing issues with the current enterprise resource planning system.
“I think it’s the way to go, just maybe in six months,” she said.
The Microsoft Exchange e-mail system would cost the city $1.4 million during the next three years. It would cost $980,320 to implement Google’s system during the same period.
NC State’s Chief Information Officer, Marc Hoit, was on hand to give his impressions of Google’s system, which the university put in place a year ago. He said that all 35,000 students now use Google-based e-mail and applications.
“They’ve been thanking me ever since,” Hoit said.
With some committee members voicing concerns about training, Hoit said that how quickly staff learns the system is dependent on what they use. Employees who are simply using the e-mail function will learn quickly, while it might take longer for an employee who uses more applications, such as calendars.
While Google Docs is available to use an an application, the college still provides Microsoft Office products for those that wish to use it. Actual usage is limited, Hoit said.
Hoit added that he has no concerns with privacy as he felt Google had a strong security record. For researchers at the college, “Anything that’s private and needs to be protected, you shouldn’t be sending in an e-mail anyway,” Hoit said.