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Bill Oates, chief information officer, City of Boston

Bill Oates, chief information officer, City of Boston

The US City of Boston has successfully migrated 76,000 public servants and students over to Google Apps, replacing on-premise Microsoft Exchange infrastructure in a bid to cut costs and simplify IT management.

Writing on the Google Enterprise blog Boston’s chief information officer Bill Oates said the move to upgrade the City’s communications infrastructure was part of a broader bid to provide more effective IT services and replace costly, ageing systems.

“Our new unified, cloud-based communication system is pretty big change from our old set-up. Our agencies worked together to manage their mail environments, with resources focused on mail administration and working across the group structures. Our largest department, the public school district, operated on a very separate environment that was in need of a major technical upgrade,” Oates said.

“We gained reliability and security compared to our prior configuration of Microsoft Exchange servers, which required extensive upkeep, upgrades and patches,” he said. “Every city employee — from police, to education, public works, transportation and beyond — has a Google account and a email address accessible from any device, anywhere.”

Google and Microsoft are currently embroiled in a battle for the hearts and minds of enterprise IT departments as the former quickly moves to take on the latter in the enterprise productivity application space. In its attempts to lure existing on-premise Microsoft Office users onto the Office 365 platform it has taken swipes at the web giant in a series of TV advertisements and blog postings, taking aim at Google’s creditability in the enterprise sphere given the consumer focus of most of its products and services.