How Vivek Kundra Fought Government Waste One Google App At a Time
The Washington D.C. government is migrating its 38,000 employees over to Gmail and Google Apps, which it plans to use for document sharing, spreadsheets and as a wiki. Here's a look at how and why, from cost to continuity.
Mon, September 22, 2008
Kundra also believes that users will be predisposed to using Google Apps because, especially from an end-user perspective, it mirrors what technologies they use at home.
"When employees go home, they have access to more technology at home than they do at work," he says. "I said 'wait a minute, people have this access at home, how can I bring it to the government? It made a compelling reason for us to move that direction."
Many of the agencies have been using Google Sites (built on wiki technology) to share information with the public to create and update procurements, Kundra adds. Google Sites can be used by people with no programming experience to build internally facing websites (intranets) or public websites.
The adoption of Google Apps falls along Kundra's strategy to control bloated IT costs (long a trouble spot in governmental IT) while providing his employees and the citizens they serve with the best technology possible.
"In D.C. government, the schools spent $25 million on Peoplesoft and it failed," he says. "That's $25 million down the toilet. Government needs to start asking the question, are we building an IT organization? Or do we want to move out of the system of owning hardware and get services to deliver solutions to customers faster. We spend far too much on enterprise software roll-outs."
So far, he has rolled out Gmail to 2,000 employees spread across the different agencies. But he says the plan is to roll it out to all 38,000 over time to realize the full cost savings. He also says he plans to pursue more software as a service (SaaS) applications in the future to improve services for employees while curtailing costs.
"Why should I spend millions on enterprise apps when I can do it at one-tenth cost and ten times the speed?" he says. "It's a win-win for me."