Wyoming has become the first state to completely adopt Google Apps, Governor Matt Mead Announced this morning. All 10,000 state employees are now completely dependent on Google Apps. According to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Governor Mead says the switch “Will provide us the opportunity to do our job better because now we have a better tool. For Wyoming, it’s a big deal, and for Google, it’s a big deal.”
It might actually be a bigger deal for Google. The company has struggled to compete with the likes of Microsoft for government contracts, trying to prove its Apps for education, business, and government are just as capable and arguably more user friendly than its main competitors. In November 2010, Google sued the federal government for picking Microsoft Office BPOS because it felt that Google Apps for Government weren’t given a fair chance. It’s since made significant strides, netting names like Motorola and Huffington Post, as well as a slew of schools and city governments. Google also introduced a Google Apps Certification Program to give IT professionals a way to prove their legitimate Google Apps knowledge. The move could also mean that Wyoming will begin choosing Android for its state employees that it provides with smartphones. BlackBerry has had a firm hold on this market, but competitors have begun breaking into the scene and Google could have a firm one-up here.
But now that an entire state’s government will use its platform, Google can start making a better case to be taken seriously on the federal level. In addition to preferring Google Apps, Wyoming was also attracted to the price tag, which will save the state money. “When you replace the need for 13 to 14 people running specific mail services all the time, that alone gets us into the $1 million area,” Wyoming chief information offer Flint Waters says. “Then you move into server costs, licensing costs and just in comparing mail alone, the savings are dramatic.”
But while the state’s executive branch will all make the switch, its legislative branch will not. They voted earlier this year to keep Microsoft Exchange, as it will work better with its Microsoft SharePoint Legislative Management System. The decision will save the state somewhere around $1 million annually.