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City of Edmonton First Major Canadian Municipality to Switch to Gmail; Expects to Save $6 Million

The City of Edmonton is switching to Gmail. And it’s saving $6 million by doing so.

The City will become Canada’s first major municipality to make the switch to Google email and office apps. Edmonton estimates that the change will result in savings of up to $6 million by the end of 2018. Roughly 3,000 staff members, many of which currently do not have email for work, will get City of Edmonton Gmail accounts.

“Because it’s web-based, we can get access to it anywhere at any time, with any device,” Chief information officer Chris Moore told the Edmonton Journal. “It gives city staff much more access and mobility. Everyone will get an account, making it easier to send everybody information at the same time.”

While the City is leveraging the software, many workers will still rely on their own hardware—employee-owned smartphones and laptops will mostly be accessing the City’s Google-based services, which include docs, spreadsheets, and an internal YouTube. Edmonton will be using Google for the enterprise, which will cost $3.2 million annually. But shaving $9.3 million from the current IT budget creates the windfall of savings, the City says.

“The platform with Google Data allows you to have a single version (of a document) and many people sharing,” Chris adds of the switch. “You can co-create, collaborate on a document together, and then you know there’s one version.” He also notes that “there’s a big difference between the consumer version of Google and the enterprise version,” stating that “we own the data.”