Rockingham County Is Moving to Google Apps!
We are pleased to announce that Rockingham County has chosen Google Apps for its new email and calendar platform. Our ITS team has been working on the migration and is looking forward to moving employees from the legacy AS400 mail to the new services in the coming 6-8 weeks. A pilot group for testing and study purposes has already undergone the migration and now utilizing Google Apps as their primary email tool. In the coming weeks ITS will continue phasing in the services with additional groups of employees.
What’s Google Apps?
Google Apps is a suite of web-based messaging and collaboration applications that Google hosts on their own servers. Google provides these applications as a "service," rather than as software to download and install. To access these applications, you simply use a web browser on a computer that's connected to the Internet.
Why did you choose Google Apps?
Based on recent Rockingham County growth, cost trends, and public records retention requirements, we looked for an email and calendar solution that could provide us the following benefits:
- Lower infrastructure costs -- All your email will be stored securely on Google's servers, so we'll no longer need to maintain email servers on-site
- Ability to consolidate our platforms -- We can eliminate redundancy by moving all of our email and calendar platforms to Google Apps
- Lower support costs -- Because Google hosts the email and calendar services, there's no more email client software to maintain on your computer
- Innovative solutions -- We can leverage the ongoing creative and technical solutions of the Google Apps platform to provide employees with powerful, easy-to-use tools for getting their work done
- Highly scalable environment -- With Google Apps, our email capacity will grow automatically as our County grows, and we'll avoid the complexity of internal systems
- Access to services from anywhere, anytime -- A key benefit of the Google-hosted solution is that we can access email, contacts, and calendar from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection, anywhere in the world
- More collaboration features -- With Google's next-generation applications, we can collaborate with colleagues, customers, and partners more easily and efficiently than ever before
- Instant messaging -- Because Google Apps includes Google Talk, we can now implement an instant messaging system for our county employees.
What exactly does Google Apps include?
Your new Google Apps account will include the following services:
Here are some of the key benefits we think you'll enjoy:
- Lots of storage -- You get a full 25 GB of online storage for your email (much more than the 1 to 2 Gb you have now), so you can archive all of your email online. You'll no longer need to worry about deleting messages or saving them in offline folders.
- Enhanced message organization and retrieval -- With Gmail, you'll spend less time managing folders and looking for messages. For example, you can add one or more tags, or "labels," to your messages to organize and store them more efficiently. And with the Google-powered search feature, you can find any message quickly and easily, whether it's in your Inbox or stored in your message archive.
- Easier calendar sharing -- Google Calendar lets you and your team members quickly and easily share your calendars with each other and specify the details you want to show. Calendar sharing is a great way for you and your coworkers to keep each other informed about your schedules. Now it's easier than ever to find out if someone is in a meeting, on a business trip, or on vacation.
- Better mailing lists -- With Google Groups, you can manage your own subscriptions to mailing lists -- called groups -- without the need to make requests to the IT Department. You can even create your own groups for your projects, teams, special-interest groups, and more. Not only do groups make it easier to send email and calendar invitations to groups of people but they also simplify access management for your shared Google documents, sites, videos, and calendars!
- Integrated chat -- With the Google Talk instant messaging application, you can communicate instantly with your coworkers right from the Email interface. In addition, all your chats are automatically saved in your Email application, so you can always retrieve important information.
- Real-time collaboration -- Using Google Docs, you can create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and you and your team members can view and edit them at the same time. You can still use your Microsoft Office (word, powerpoint, excel, etc) products as needed, but now you'll have more options for storing and collaborating on your documents.
- Easy-to-build team web sites -- With Google Sites, your team can quickly publish a robust internal web site on which to gather all sorts of shared information, such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, files, and videos. You can even embed Google calendars and other gadgets on your site! With Google Sites we will be hosting our company intranet so look for upcoming announcements and access to this.
I already use Google Apps for my personal email and calendar. Are we getting the same applications?
They are similar, but we'll be using the business-class edition of Google Apps, which provides more features, more support, and an "up-time" guarantee.
Will my email address change?
No, your email address won't change! You'll continue to receive all your email at your current address.
Are you migrating my email and calendar to Google Apps?
Yes, we'll migrate all of your email messages, calendar events, and personal contacts from Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Thunderbird to Google Apps during business and/or non-business hours, so they'll be ready for you when you log in to your new Google Apps account.
Do I need to do anything after I get my Google Apps account?
You'll just need to complete a few simple tasks to complete your migration, such as recreating any email rules you used in Outlook, Express or Thunderbird and setting up your mobile device.
Will you provide assistance during the transition?
To get you up to speed quickly, we'll provide plenty of documentation and training resources along with some brief centralized training sessions for those interested. Members of the IT team will also be available to answer your questions or resolve any issues you encounter. You can also click this link to access the end user training and support site that will be used to provide brief training and documentation.
How much time will it take to set up and learn how to use Google Apps?
You'll be able to master the basics -- sending and receiving email and viewing and scheduling meetings -- very quickly. However, the time required to completely move over to Google Apps can vary, depending on how you currently use Outlook, Express or Thunderbird. For example, for a typical email and calendar migration, expect to spend about 4 to 8 hours over the course of a week or so, to take the training, review documentation, and set up your services. If you also access email on a mobile device (blackberries or other smartphones), plan on spending a bit more time.
We think you'll enjoy your new Google Apps services, and we're committed to making this a smooth transition. More information to follow soon!
Department of Information Technology Services
Rockingham County, NC
Service Desk: 336.394.9999
Director of Information Technology Services