Aussie councils not keen on Gmail

Aussie councils not keen on Gmail

Summary: Most of Australia's largest metropolitan councils have said they are not immediately interested in adopting Google's Gmail or Apps corporate packages, despite comments by one of the search giant's local partners to the contrary.

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TOPICS: Apps, Google
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Most of Australia's largest metropolitan councils have said they are not immediately interested in adopting Google's Gmail or Apps corporate packages, despite comments by one of the search giant's local partners to the contrary.

(Credit: ZDNet.com.au)

In August, Paul Cooper, director of business solutions for SMS management and Technology, which was involved in the NSW Department of Education and Training's migration of 1.3 million students from Microsoft Outlook/Exchange to Gmail, said that some of the largest city councils were also looking at the Gmail option.

However, when ZDNet.com.au did a call around to the central councils of the nation's four biggest cities, interest was not burning bright.

Brisbane City Council said it had a contract with Microsoft for the next two years, and was not willing to talk about any future contracts.

The City of Melbourne said it wasn't ready to look at alternatives to office applications such as Google Apps until 2009 when its current agreement expired, although IT operations manager Adrian Ong added that the council would consider the Gmail option as an addendum, not as a replacement for the current system.

Before replacing any office applications, many things need to be considered, according to Ong. "We'd really need to investigate the applications' compatibility within our environment. We also have to consider these applications within the legislative context," he told ZDNet.com.au.

Sydney City Council, however, wasn't looking for an alternative mail solution. "Our current email system is sufficient as it's integrated with our document management system," a spokesperson for the council said. As for Google Apps, the council said its current systems did the job.

City of Perth Council chief information officer Jonathan Stoate said his council wouldn't be adopting either the apps package or Gmail as a stand-alone.

The news has the potential to dampen local enthusiasm for Google's business packages. Australian interest in the solutions has varied over the past couple of years, with large organisations such as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia testing out the solutions but ultimately declining to adopt them, and early adopters such as De Bortoli Wines espousing their advantages.

Thus far, Google's offerings have yet to make much headway against Microsoft's ubiquitous Office and Outlook packages.

Topics: Apps, Google

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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5 comments
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  • Sorry Suzanne

    You surveyed 4 councils of a possible 677

    This is such a small sample, its not even worth mentioning

    Slow news day
    anonymous
  • Wrong Councils

    I'm sorry, but it appears as though you have only asked the inner city councils which may have a lot more money than the poorer outer suburb councils. Some of these councils barely have an IT budget to begin with, so of course they would be looking at moving away from Microsoft solutions.

    Credit where credit is due though - at least you asked around the country.
    anonymous
  • Google need to show Councils the money.

    I have worked with Councils IT depts as a vendor for many years and if Google bothered to actually talk to Councils they might find out a little more.
    For one most Councils dont like hosted solutions. They have shoe string IT budgets and wont be able to afford to integrate their Ratings/Property, Financials, GIS, CRM And Office Apps to Google Apps and Gmail. This is of course unless Google want to invest in a market where companies like Civica, Hansen and Technology One offer local government solutions that work with MS Office and Exchange out of the box. In the end a lot of councils have looked at moving to technologies like Google Apps and Open Source but the costs involved are too high when you are looking just to avoid buying Microsoft products.
    anonymous
  • Coucils

    I have worked with the Melbourne City Council, it would be tough to find a group of people who know less about technology (the conversation included getting the city 'wired' then when we mentioned wireless they started to talk about getting the city 'unwired.')
    This is like asking 6 year olds what email they like.
    anonymous
  • Good luck Google

    Firstly,
    "In August, Paul Cooper, said that some of the largest city councils were also looking at the Gmail option."
    This article is a response to replies from the countries 4 largest Councils which all said they had no plans at looking at Gmail option in the near future.
    Why question the other 673 smaller councils when the point's already made?

    Secondly, I've also worked IT in councils, and like every other government agency I've worked in, they're slow to adopt new technologies (e.g web-based mail). They don't employ the brightest of IT staff (I'll quietly exclude myself here) and add that to the endless supply of red-tape and the general government employee's lethargic mentality and I just don't see Councils jumping on the Gmail bandwagon.

    Councils/government also generally have a lot of legacy systems that keep them tied to their current software environments for years. A lot of applications tie into email, such as databases in Lotus Notes, or Document Management Systems in Outlook, etc. Most companies/agencies I've worked at that use Outlook love it for it's ability to tie in with AD, group policies, etc. I don't know much about what Gmail offers in this area, but I'm sure it's nothing on the same level as MS/Lotus.

    There's also Whole of Government policies that dictate how email can be kept for record keeping purposes. I'm not even sure what implications there would be with hosting government owned mail off-site with a company that is not bound by same laws and legislation as councils.

    There's also the cost factor. Bandwidth isn't cheap in Australia. Councils/Agencies don't buy cheap ADSL like home users. They get leased lines and pay thousands of dollars a month. I'd rather pay cost of Exchange CAL (includes Outlook) for AU$100 (approx) per user and have them send emails for free instead of paying for every email my users send to each other.

    Home users, sure. Small-medium business, maybe. Government agencies, good luck Google, you'll need it.
    anonymous