“I have nothing but positive things to say about the project and the SADA team.”
- Sean Crager, Chief Information Officer
Franklin County Communicates and Collaborates Effectively with Google Apps and Google Vault
Franklin County is a county located in South Central Pennsylvania and is comprised of 15 townships and 7 boroughs. It encompasses 771.9 square miles and had a 2010 U.S. Census population of 149,618. This represents a continued trend of increase since 1970 (100,833) and continuing with the 1980 (113,629), 1990 (121,082), and 2000 (129,313) census figures. This is a 48% increase in population in 40 years and a 16% increase since 2000.
Prior to moving to Google Apps, Franklin County had approximately 650 users on Novell GroupWise and decided to take a closer look at their technology workflows and processes. Sean Crager, CIO of Franklin County, was brought onboard to evaluate and modernize Franklin County’s aging technology environment, which at the time, could not effectively support the growth the County was experiencing. As the 4th fastest growing county in Pennsylvania, Franklin County had to increase the volume of services delivered to an increasing number of citizens, while keeping internal operations as budget neutral as possible. Crager focused first on email, noting that email is the County’s primary driver of productivity. He noted various pain points including the costs associated with hosting all their data on-premise. Due to the structure of their previous IT systems, Franklin County had to maintain 1 server for each of their buildings, totaling about 10 different servers for each of their offices. The County also had a slower network, and struggled with very slow backups and limited storage space, with email alone consuming ½ terabyte of storage. Additionally, Franklin County’s email retention and archiving solution did not fully suit the County’s needs, and was not considered user-friendly by the majority of the staff. Crager knew that the staff of Franklin County needed a solution that was more agile. and engaged SADA Systems to assist the County with getting out of hosted email and into the cloud.
After considering different options, Crager knew that moving to the cloud was the most optimal choice to realize the benefits the County needed, and wanted a cloud solution that would increase user productivity while being intuitive and easy to manage. Google Apps stood out to Crager due to the high adoption rate of Gmail: Crager’s team surveyed all county employees and found 35% of employees were already using Gmail as their personal email solution. Crager chose SADA Systems as their deployment partner due to their unique expertise migrating users from Novell GroupWise to Google Apps.
SADA migrated approximately 650 users to Google Apps for Government, and assisted Franklin County with the adoption of Google Vault as their email retention and compliance solution. In addition to Gmail, Franklin County also adopted Google Drive and Google Docs as a robust document management and collaboration solution, with the added benefit of increased mobility. Franklin County also uses Google Forms and Google Sheets to collect information from various departments, without engaging the assistance of IT. Crager also notes that Franklin County is looking to more fully rolling out Google Sites in order to re-do their internal intranet and further improve departmental communications.
Franklin County also worked with SADA’s Training Department to assist with change management and training as the County switched platforms. This included campaigns to create excitment regarding the move to Google Apps, customized for Franklin County. “We used 70s TV shows and took goofy picture of the staff,” said Crager. “We got end-users engaged in the process and had them looking forward to seeing what picture would come next. The people skills were what I appreciated from the SADA team – moving email platforms is one of the last things people want to do, at the end of the day, and it helped us soften the blow and make it fun.”
Result and Benefits
By moving to Google Apps, Franklin County no longer has to deal with the cost and resource expenditures of maintaining 10 servers, resulting in huge savings for the County. Additionally, with Gmail’s large inbox size of 25 gigabytes, staff members no longer have to be concerned or feel limited in their communication efforts. Expenditures on licensing and electricity usage have reduced significantly, and with Google Vault, Franklin County no longer needs to deal with the costs associated with maintaining their former email retention solution. Google mobile device management on Androids also helps Franklin County cut spending associated with mobile device management, and built-in spam/virus protection and disaster recovery with Google Apps provides the County a much appreciated cost-avoidance. Franklin County’s total savings for the year, in staff time as well as IT expenditure comes out to over $47,000 annually. By moving to Google Apps, Franklin County is able to reduce their usual IT expenditure by over 50 percent as well as increase productivity and service to its citizens.