Sometimes, it just takes a while to get used to Software as a Service.
San Francisco CIO Miguel Gamino Jr. says that was the case for the city’s workforce, which began migrating to Microsoft Office 365 from Lotus Notes in 2010. However, widespread adoption didn’t take place until recently.
“Office 365 is a much better product today, plus people are more accepting of using office applications in the cloud,” Gamino says. “We really made a push and went from 2,000 users to 26,000 in the last 15 months.”
Most of the workforce uses Office 365 for email and collaboration, while some departments run specialized SharePoint apps for recruitment and procurement. “The IT staff has also been an early adopter with Lync Online, but we’re looking to roll out Lync across the enterprise during the rest of 2015,” Gamino adds. “People are looking forward to having an application that lets them collaborate.”
Robert Mahowald, a program vice president for SaaS and cloud services at IDC, says the San Francisco experience with Office 365 aligns with much of IDC’s recent research. “We found that 65 percent of organizations say they use some aspect of the cloud today,” Mahowald says. “And this corresponds to both IT departments and line-of-business organizations.”
The Way Forward
Greenwood County, S.C., consolidated a hodgepodge of email systems by standardizing on Gmail, says Brad Barnell, IT/GIS director for the county. Some of the county’s 350 staff also use Google Apps for Government’s Google Docs, Google Sheets and GoogleTalk.
“From an IT management perspective, it’s become one less thing for me to worry about,” Barnell says. At roughly $50 per person per year, the licensing is affordable. “We could have opted for on-premises email servers, but we just thought it made more sense to use the SaaS app,” he explains.
Veronica Primeaux, a graphic artist for the Texas Department of State Health Services, uses Adobe Creative Cloud because that’s how Adobe delivers its applications today. “It’s really the wave of the future,” she says. The agency relies on Adobe InDesign, PhotoShop and Illustrator to design and produce brochures and posters.
Primeaux says there are many advantages to running the apps over the cloud, such as automatically receiving updates. “Plus, the Adobe Creative Cloud has made available a great deal of online training videos, fonts and illustrations,” she says. “We also have access to and can communicate with a worldwide community of graphic artists and illustrators.”