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Google Chat w/ Panama City

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  • 1. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 12/02/2010 Google Chat with Richard Ferrick, Network Administrator and Web Development, City of Panama CityMegan Price: Hey Everyone! Thanks for joining us today as we chat with Google and Panama City.Before we dive into the chat I just want to walk through how this works. Dan and Richard will give a fewwords of wisdom and then we will open for questions. To ask a question just find my photo on the rightand private chat me your question. Ill put them up in the main window when we are ready for anotherquestionMegan Price: Im really excited to begin this chat. Id like to introduce Dan from Google, they have beendoing amazing things.Dan Israel: Thanks a lot, Megan!Megan Price: We here at GovLoop love using their apps. Dan Ill let you take it from here...Dan Israel: Ok. Thanks to GovLoop for hosting this chat. (and for being Awesome)Dan Israel: Its great to be back here & I really like this live chat feature. I want to give a quickintroduction for our man of the hour. Richard Ferrick is in charge of network administration and webdevelopment in Panama City, Florida. Panama City is an early adopter of Google Apps for city governmentand one of the first governments to start using Google Apps for Government. Richard has been doing a lotof innovative things to make city government more transparent so weve brought him to GovLoop toshare some of his experiences & answer your questions. Without any further ado, take it away Richard!Richard Ferrick: Hello All... and a quick thanks to Govloop and Google for inviting me to share myexperiences with Google Apps for Government here at the City of Panama City.Megan Price: We are happy to have you!Dan Rowinski: Richard, can you describe in detail the server crash you had on your government websitelast spring?Richard Ferrick: Total hardware failure...The last backup we had left us in a serious situation... It was atthat point we decided to look for an alternative. Hearing a lot about cloud computing we took a close lookat Google Apps. It addressed several areas that we were looking to improve upon. In no time we wereable to deploy the service and recreate our web site. [Type the company address] Page 1
  • 2. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 12/02/2010Megan Price: Great seg-way into our next question: how long did it take to move your website to GoogleSites?Richard Ferrick: Thats a good question... We got most of the data transferred within a few days. Thehardest part for me was the design layout. That took a couple of weeks to reach a "happy point". Sincethen... updates are quick and no hassle.Megan Price: That’s great...ready for the next ?Richard Ferrick: sureMegan Price: How did Panama City employees respond to the change to Google apps? What kind offeedback did you get?Richard Ferrick: The "veteran" employees, about 10% had concerns. I took my time with theirtransition. Others wanted the service ASAP. Most had Gmail accounts so they knew the service. They alsohelped with training / answering questions from users within their department.Dan Israel: What kind of training did you offer those veteran employees?Richard Ferrick: I held training classes on the "core applications", email, contacts and chat. We tookGoogle Docs at a slow pace. These are Lotus Notes users with some it was the ONLY email they ever used.Megan Price: That’s a tough growing pain...what other applications are you using besides Gmail?Richard Ferrick: More and More we have moved to use of Google Docs. The "Powers" here at the citydecided they were not going to update Microsoft Office with every update that came out… Most users areon Office 97...(that’s not a typo). The change appears to be working well for most all users.Megan Price: 97 short time ago.Richard Ferrick: Go figure... but that is the rule here.Megan Price: Before moving to Apps, what systems were you using and what were the specificmalfunctions?Richard Ferrick: We were using Domino R5 [Type the company address] Page 2
  • 3. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 12/02/2010Dan Rowinski: Especially in the Spring crash, if I may interject.Richard Ferrick: Domino R5 was the mail server and a separate web server running Server 2003. Drivefailure along with some software / configuration issues.Megan Price: Have you had any tangible security threats since moving to Google Docs/Apps?Richard Ferrick: None what so ever. Google recent FISMA certification is a good reassurance. Our view isthis... They employ some of the industries experts in Web and App security... 100 of which are dedicatedto Google Apps. That is a comfort to us knowing we have a team as opposed to 3 IT members and a PIXfirewall.Megan Price: Very much so. Ready for the next ?Richard Ferrick: sureMegan Price: Are any of the Google docs used externally for city wide citizen use or just internallyamongst employees?Richard Ferrick: Good question, we use them to post to our web site and share outside the domain.Richard Ferrick: HR has an embedded spreadsheet on our employment site that lists vacant positions.Its linked to a Google Doc that outlines the job description.Megan Price: Have you had an increase in citizen engagement because of this move?Richard Ferrick: Yes... to some extent. They get the information a lot quicker due to employees postingstraight to the web...Megan Price: That’s really cool! What’s your favorite app?Richard Ferrick: Google VideoMegan Price: Can you tell us how Panama City is using Google Video?Richard Ferrick: We are using it to interview applicants for our City Planner position. Yesterday weinterviewed an applicant in Chicago... [Type the company address] Page 3
  • 4. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 12/02/2010Dan Israel: Thats a nice cost savings instead of flying them there, I guess?Richard Ferrick: This morning we used it for a Gainsville applicant. Yes Dan. In fact, The City Managerwas blown away by the clarity AND FUTURE COST SAVINGS. It went over well. I’m doing a PSAannouncement that will be out later today…Megan Price: I saw that you have a YouTube channel; why and how did you get this going?Richard Ferrick: Yes. We are a "Trusted Google Tester". I asked if we could use the YouTube service tohost all city meetings as an archive. That allows Citizens to watch at their leisure. Big Hit here. We haveyet to brand the channel but its on my listMegan Price: That’s really neat. Youll have to let us know when you do!Megan Price: You brought up the future cost savings, can you expand on that? What are the savingsestimates and what applications are helping the most?Richard Ferrick: We looked at the totality of what we could get from the cloud. No hardware costs, nomaint. costs, very little administration on across the board. That leaves us time for other jobrequirements tossed in our laps. Such as live streaming and now more time for training... Collaboration isworking well. Mobility is probably the best feature.Martha Garvey: How do you think cloud computing will change your training, BTW?Megan Price: So basically, Google Apps are efficient enough to create time to focus on othertasks/duties?Richard Ferrick: Very much so... I have opened a public training site for users here at the city.Richard Ferrick: More on mobility. Before Apps users had to access via VPN and Remote desktop. Not agood approach and we had to configure most personal devices.Megan Price: Are employees accessing information from home or on their mobile devices?Richard Ferrick: Now... they have true mobility... they like the ease in access, most users now access withtheir personal devices such as smart phones. The city issued SOME users phones... but most everyoneuses their personal device. A saving to the city as they dont have to supply phone... for the most part [Type the company address] Page 4
  • 5. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 12/02/2010Megan Price: I know you have an Android phone; what apps make your day to day better? and how?Richard Ferrick: Androids voice to text blows my mind... I can open a Google doc on the device and talk,translation is spot-on. People love this feature.Megan Price: It is a great feature!Richard Ferrick: We also broadcast video from the field to an intranet site created with Google Sites.Megan Price: Alright - you get a mini break - next one is for Dan: are there any Apps in development thatfocus on more local engagement opps now that they see whats happening in local gov?Dan Israel: There are a number of things Google is doing. One that Panama City is using is Googlespreadsheet forms - for getting citizen input via surveys. You can create a form really easily & then post iton your website. and it automatically creates charts/graphs with your results.Stephen Peteritas: We could use that on GL!Dan Israel: Would love it if you found a use on GL .Megan Price: already brainstorming about it Dan Israel: another product that several agencies are using to engage citizens is Google Moderator. Thatallows people to submit questions and other people to vote up or down - is this a good question or not thebest ones rise to the top. This has been used to choose questions for town hall type interviews withPresident Obama, Canadian PM Harper, and others.Megan Price: That’s very cool.Dan Israel: Actually, on a fun note, Bon Jovi recently used moderator to let fans choose the playlist for aconcert. Lots you can do with that one to solicit public opinionMegan Price: that would be fun - interact with seemingly unreachable peopleDan Israel: there are many other Google Apps that can help open up governmentMegan Price: Richard - have you used Moderator for anything or have any plans to do so? [Type the company address] Page 5
  • 6. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 12/02/2010Richard Ferrick: Yes... we use it internally for what to train on next :-)Richard Ferrick: We are looking into an employee comment type use. There are a lot of "favorites" weenjoy with the service. Another is our Employee Start Page which is iGoogle. It has recently beencustomized to our user environment. I also communicate training using the YouTube service. Heres arecent email sent "All City" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmNhS5op1mc. of course to watch atyour leisure...Richard Ferrick: We have HR video and track users viewing by a Google Form they complete oncefinished... It collects their user ID.Stephen Peteritas: Archives the training too which is nice.Megan Price: you mentioned iGoogle - can you expand upon what that is?Richard Ferrick: Its a start page that all users have configured. They use it as a "Starting Point" intoGoogle apps. It loads as a default with the Chrome browser. Yes... we all use Chrome here. No Mail clients.All 250 users. Employees have access to all the apps within the iGoogle page. Very convenient.Megan Price: sounds like itDan Israel: really like that training video. Great idea to deliver directly to users in a way they canconsume at their leisure.Richard Ferrick: The employees like the approach...Megan Price: Have other cities approached you for advice training?Richard Ferrick: Advise... Yes. They were curious as to how I did the layout for our web design. I had 3 or4 cities and counties call. It was all done with tips from the Google help site.Megan Price: That’s great! Must be nice being an early adopter! You mentioned collaboration amongstemployees as a great result of moving to Apps - can you expand on that?Richard Ferrick: There are a lot of creative end users out their... It was doable. Google chat is great forquick answers from staff online. They use that a lot.Megan Price: Do you utilize the group chat feature a lot? [Type the company address] Page 6
  • 7. GovLoop Chat Presented by Google 12/02/2010Richard Ferrick: We are embracing Googles video chat now. I think thats going to be a big asset to ourcity.Megan Price: What are your plans for the city and the use of Google Apps?Richard Ferrick: We are looking hard at video conferencing. I think we can save a lot of money with itsuse.Megan Price: Thank you very much for joining us today. Im excited to see all the great things comingout of Panama City.Stephen Peteritas: Thanks!Richard Ferrick: We are excited...Megan Price: For all of those on the chat, the script and summary will be found in the Google for GovgroupRichard Ferrick: thanks for having me... please contact me if any of you have questionsMegan Price: as well as further communication with Dan and Richard -- both of which are active onGovLoop.Dan Israel: Richard, thanks a lot for sharing your story with other GovLoopers.Richard Ferrick: My pleasure...Dan Israel: we expect more great things in 2011!Megan Price: and to all the GovLoopers - thanks for chatting with us; if you have more questions jump inthe Google for Gov group and ask away -- have a great day everyone!Richard Ferrick: Thanks byaDan Israel: Thanks Megan! Thanks everyone else for joining.Megan Price: Thank you Dan!! [Type the company address] Page 7

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