L.A. Stumbles In Deployment Of Google Apps

    April 30, 2010

The deployment of Google Apps in Los Angeles – the same deployment that’s supposed to save L.A. $5.5 million over the next five years and inspire many other cities to follow its example – isn’t going according to plan.  Although it appears that neither side is entirely to blame, several problems have cropped up.

GoogleA group of city employees has been testing Google Apps, and they recently held a meeting to discuss their findings.  City Administrative Officer Miguel A. Santana then wrote in a letter to the chair of the Information Technology and Government Affairs Committee, "At the meeting many of the departments expressed concerns about both the performance and the functionality of the new system."

Santana explained, "Performance concerns focused on the slowness with which e-mails were sent, received, and accessed in the new system.  Functionality concerns focused on features currently available in GroupWise that are unavailable, or significantly different, in Google’s system.  Further, the Los Angeles Police Department indicated that several security issues have yet to be resolved, and that a pilot of its technical support staff must be successfully completed before it can be expanded to the rest of the LAPD."

Of course, Santana also noted that city’s data networks may not be configured correctly, that city employees are using Firefox and Internet Explorer when they’re supposed to use Chrome, and that running Google Apps and the old GroupWise system at the same time isn’t helping anything.  Plus, some of purportedly unavailable features do in fact exist.

Google Apps doesn’t offer other features, however, and the LAPD’s concerns are significant.

So a full implementation of Google Apps has been delayed, and if the situation isn’t resolved soon, it looks like L.A. will have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars (again) for GroupWise licenses.

Big hat tip goes to Leena Rao.

UPDATE: Another city official has written a post on the Los Angeles Google Enterprise E-mail and Collaboration System Blog to say that these rough spots "are part of a normal Pilot and review process and is a normal part of a well-thought out project schedule — most large rollouts (with any technology) are built with flexible timeframes so issues can be addressed. The Pilot and reviews it contains are to ensure that the product meets SOW. It also tests ancillary products to ensure integration. This is all NORMAL stuff happening here and the project is still on track to deliver per the schedule!"