Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Angie Blake, Information Solutions Manager for the City of Monterey, California. See what other organizations that use the Google Apps have to say.

The Information Services team for the City of Monterey is dedicated to providing the right resources and support for our workforce. We were using an aging and expensive Novell GroupWise email platform that held us back. We faced high overhead costs, a burdensome system administration, lack of innovation, no ability to collaborate and issues around integrating with other key data systems.

We spent a lot of time troubleshooting GroupWise problems: applying software updates to servers and clients, monitoring disk space usage, spam filter maintenance, troubleshooting server errors and connections to mobile devices and providing specialized user training. This time would have been better spent building our library of support resources for city employees.

After a thorough evaluation of multiple replacement options, our IT department recommended, and our City Council approved, the purchase Google Apps for Government and associated services from Google reseller SADA Systems.

With help from SADA Systems, we moved all 460 employees in just 90 days, finishing in early January 2013. SADA provided an excellent project plan, project manager and technical assistance. I truly believe that without SADA’s assistance, this transition would not have been as easy and successful.

Our chief reasons for Going Google were low cost, 24/7 availability and security, ability to collaborate, minimal user training needed, and access to our data across different types of applications and mobile devices. We also appreciated Google’s conversion tools, which allowed us to migrate all our existing e-mail, calendar, and contact information with ease and minimize disruption to employees.

Keep in mind: Monterey has dozens of offices located across the city and in the neighboring communities we support. It’s not just City Hall where our citizens go to get things done. We have public safety professionals, public works employees, employees with multiple types of mobile devices, fire stations, and service desks in different offices and nearby cities. The coordination and communication challenges in this distributed and decentralized environment were daunting, to say the least.

Today, city employees in these dispersed locations communicate using Gmail, share documents in Drive, use Google’s instant messaging, and Sites to stay coordinated. We’re also piloting Google+ Hangouts as another way to streamline collaboration and communication among the different offices. Just recently our five fire stations, located in three different cities, successfully held their staff meeting in a Google+ Hangout.

Switching to Google Apps will save the City 30 percent in IT costs over the next five years. The Information Services team can spend more time on implementing new technological solutions across the city. Even more important, this transition has empowered employees to do their jobs faster and with greater ease and efficiency, in turn, benefiting our citizens.

Join us for a webinar on Wed, Mar 6, 2013 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PST to hear for yourself how Google Apps is making a difference in our city.