Google Apps

August 26, 2014

I am pleased to announce that SHRSD has chosen Google Apps for its new email and calendar platform. Our IT team has been working on the migration and is looking forward to moving employees from your various existing platforms to the new services in the coming days.


What’s Google Apps?

Google Apps is a suite of web-based messaging and collaboration applications that Google hosts on their own servers. Google provides these applications as a "service," rather than as software to download and install. To access these applications, you simply use a web browser on a computer that's connected to the Internet.  


For a quick overview of Google Apps and why we’re so excited about the switch, check out this video!


Why did you choose Google Apps?

We looked for an email and calendar solution that could provide with us the following benefits:

  • Lower infrastructure costs -- All your email will be stored securely on Google's servers, so we'll no longer need to maintain email servers on-site

  • Ability to consolidate our platforms -- We can eliminate redundancy by moving all of our email and calendar platforms to Google Apps

  • Lower support costs -- Because Google hosts the email and calendar services, there's no more email client software to maintain on your computer

  • Innovative solutions -- We can leverage the ongoing creative and technical solutions of the Google Apps platform to provide employees with powerful, easy-to-use tools for getting their work done

  • Highly scalable environment -- With Google Apps, our email capacity will grow automatically as our district grows, and we'll avoid the complexity of multiple internal systems

  • Access to services from anywhere, anytime -- A key benefit of the Google-hosted solution is that we can access email, contacts, and calendar from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection, anywhere in the world

  • More collaboration features -- With Google's next-generation applications, we can collaborate with colleagues, customers, and partners more easily and efficiently than ever before


What exactly does Google Apps include?

Your new Google Apps account will include the following services:

Gmail

Google Calendar

Google

Groups

Google Sites

Google

Drive



Here are some of the key benefits we think you'll enjoy:


  • Lots of storage -- You get a full 30 GB of online storage for your email and google drive.

  • Enhanced message organization and retrieval -- With Gmail, you'll spend less time managing folders and looking for messages. For example, you can add one or more tags, or "labels," to your messages to organize and store them more efficiently. And with the Google-powered search feature, you can find any message quickly and easily, whether it's in your Inbox or stored in your message archive.

  • Easier calendar sharing -- Google Calendar lets you and your team members quickly and easily share your calendars with each other and specify the details you want to show. Calendar sharing is a great way for you and your coworkers to keep each other informed about your schedules. Now it's easier than ever to find out if someone is in a meeting, on a business trip, or on vacation.

  • Better mailing lists -- With Google Groups, you can manage your own subscriptions to mailing lists -- called groups -- without the need to make requests to the IT Department. You can even create your own groups for your projects, teams, special-interest groups, and more. Not only do groups make it easier to send email and calendar invitations to groups of people but they also simplify access management for your shared Google documents, files, sites, and calendars. And you can even use groups to create full-featured discussion forums!

  • Integrated chat -- With the Google Talk instant messaging application, you can communicate instantly with your co-workers right from the Email interface. In addition, all your chats are automatically saved in your Email application, so you can always retrieve important information.

  • File storage and sharing: With Google Drive, you can store just about any type of file, open them right in your web browser, and share them with others

  • Real-time collaboration -- Using Google Docs, you can create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and you and your team members can view and edit them at the same time. You can still use your Microsoft Office/other products as needed, but now you'll have more options for storing and collaborating on your documents.

  • Easy-to-build team web sites -- With Google Sites, your team can quickly publish a robust internal web site on which to gather all sorts of shared information, such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, files, and videos. You can even embed Google calendars and other gadgets on your site!


I already use Google Apps for my personal email and calendar. Are we getting the same applications?

They are similar, but we'll be using the business-class edition of Google Apps, which provides more features, more support, and an "up-time" guarantee.


Will my email address change?

Yes your email address will be firstname.lastname@shrsd.org.  However, you'll continue to receive all your email sent to your old address at this new one.


Are you migrating my email and calendar to Google Apps?

Yes, we'll migrate all of your email messages, calendar events, and personal contacts from your previous systems to Google Apps during non-business hours, so they'll be ready for you when you log in to your new Google Apps account.  There are some exceptions for SHRHS users who may need to export their own contacts and whose calendars may not migrate at all.


Do I need to do anything after I get my Google Apps account?

You'll just need to complete a few simple tasks to complete your migration, such as recreating any email rules you used previously and setting up your mobile device.  More information will follow if needed.


Will you provide assistance during the transition?

To get you up to speed quickly, we'll provide plenty of documentation and training resources. Please see the District site and look for the Google Apps section under For Staff, there is a great learn google apps link and an additional training link.  Members of the IT support team will also be available to answer your questions or resolve any issues you encounter.


How much time will it take to set up and learn how to use Google Apps?

You'll be able to master the basics -- sending and receiving email and viewing and scheduling meetings -- very quickly. However, the time required to completely move over to Google Apps can vary. For example, for a typical email and calendar migration, expect to spend about 4 to 8 hours over the course of a week or so, to take the training, review documentation, and set up your services. If you also access email on a mobile device, plan on spending a bit more time.


I think you'll enjoy your new Google Apps services, and we're committed to making this a smooth transition.

Regards, 

Vince Cifelli, 
Director of Technology