The City of Columbia Has Gone Google

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“The only comments I received were gratitude from our employees for finally being able to communicate and collaborate smoothly.”

What’s it like to Go Google? Guest blogger Mike Matthes, City Manager of Columbia Missouri shares his views on how the city made a massive migration to Google Workspace a success.

I grew up in Chillicothe, Missouri. Until last year, I worked for the City of Des Moines in Iowa for 15 years. When I got the opportunity to move back to my home state and became the City Manager of Columbia, I jumped at the chance. Columbia is a boomtown, offering an outstanding quality of life that emphasizes the value of public services for the citizens. I find great joy in serving the public, partnering with our city employees, and supporting them as they work with the community.

Struggling with Outdated Technology

After I moved to Columbia, I realized the city was challenged by an antiquated email system that couldn’t keep up with the latest technology trends and our employees’ needs. When my iPad acted as nothing more than a paperweight, I knew we needed a change.

Columbia is fortunate to have an open-minded City Council and IT Department, so we started looking for a new email solution last fall. When I worked for Des Moines, I became familiar with the Google Workspace solution. We chose the Google email and communication platform for 2,000 Des Moines employees because it could help the city save budget while enabling our employees to be more productive. When I looked at Google Workspace again, I was struck by the tremendous product enhancements made in just a year since I last reviewed its offering.

We quickly decided to move all 1,188 Columbia employees to Google Workspace after evaluating available email and communication solutions. With the help of our Google Premier Partner, Onix, we flawlessly transitioned all city employees to Google Workspace.

The only comments I received were gratitude from our employees for finally being able to communicate and collaborate smoothly. Email and calendar just work, and other advanced collaboration features in Google Workspace bring much more efficiency to our workplace. Eighty percent of our employees are mobile, such as police, fire and public works staff. They have been starving for mobile productivity for years. Now they can easily check email, documents, and sites from the field.

Although most reasonable people dread an annual budget process, I’m actually looking forward to it this year because all 18 of our departments will be using a Google Site to collaborate and share information easily while preparing for the budget. This site also integrates a Google calendar that marks budget due dates with a countdown clock for all departments.

Google Workspace Enhances Productivity 

For Columbia, going Google is a force multiplier. With resources saved and productivity enhanced, our city employees are able to better focus on their core mission of serving citizens. Being a part of modernization efforts of both Columbia and Des Moines makes my job as a public servant meaningful.

Editor’s Note: Google Workspace is FedRAMP compliant. FedRAMP is a government-wide program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services.

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