Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is ringing in the new year with a new email and collaboration system for its 25,000 employees, contractors and associates. They have all successfully moved to Google Apps for Government, making NOAA the largest federal agency to complete the switch to cloud-based email and collaboration tools.
NOAA employees work with the latest technologies like environmental monitoring satellites and high-tech weather forecasting tools. Now, they have cutting-edge email and collaboration tools to match.
According to NOAA CIO Joseph Klimavicz, the speed and ease of moving to Google Apps was an important factor in the agency’s decision to select Google. Moving 25,000 people to a new system is no small task. To move a group this size to a unified email platform in just six months is a remarkable achievement.
The rapid deployment resulted from a well-coordinated effort by NOAA employees, prime contractor ERT Inc., and Google partners Unisys and Tempus Nova. NOAA issued a request for proposals in January 2011 and made the award to ERT in June. The team put in place an aggressive schedule to have the system implemented by December and delivered on the plan. NOAA staff now have a set of modern tools like instant messaging, video chat, and real-time, multi-user document collaboration to help the people of NOAA work together more effectively. What’s more, NOAA estimates the cost to the taxpayer is approximately 50% less than developing a solution in-house.
With operations around the nation, in the air and on the sea, NOAA needed applications that work anywhere without the hassle of managing hardware in all these locations. Many members of the workforce spend time outside the office collecting data on weather, climate, oceans, and coasts. As a result, access to work information on mobile devices is critical. Google Apps allows NOAA’s scientists and staff to get their email and other information wherever their work may take them.
We welcome NOAA as the latest -- and largest -- in a string of government agencies from Wyoming to the General Services Administration to Des Moines, Iowa that switched to Google Apps in 2011. We look forward to welcoming many others in 2012.