Google Apps move will save us £3m, claims council

Hillingdon switching from desktop software to cloud...

Hillingdon switching from desktop software to cloud...

Google Apps

Hillingdon Council is heading for Google's cloudImage: Google

Hillingdon Council is moving to Google Apps - a shift the council estimates will save it nearly £3m over the next four years.

Hillingdon plans to be the first local authority in the UK to fully migrate to Google Apps, moving its 3,500 staff over to Google's cloud office suite early next year. The change will see it providing desktop apps such as email, calendar, documents and word processing via the cloud, rather than through local software.

Over four years the council calculates it will save £2.98m using Google's cloud suite instead of traditional desktop software.

The council said the move will boost productivity by supporting better internal collaboration. It flagged up the ability to work collaboratively on documents and utilise instant messaging, voice and videoconferencing via Google's software as key benefits of the move.

Other benefits it envisages include reduced need for local storage and server space enabling the council to shrink its carbon footprint and energy bills.

"Going with Google makes the most sense for Hillingdon economically and it will enable us to realise the tremendous opportunities afforded by cloud computing," councillor Jonathan Bianco, cabinet member for finance, property and business services, said in a statement.

"Doing this means we're ahead of the curve in anticipating the changes in technology over the coming years," he added. "It also means we'll have more opportunities to look at how we communicate with local residents and organisations in the borough, such as remote working."

"Simply, it makes both financial and business transformational sense to make the change."

The council was previously Novell Groupwise for its email systems.