Educating 12,500 users and transforming their ways of working will be no easy feat, but with our 10+ years of Google Workspace deployment experience I am excited about the possibilities. Linköping will be a lighthouse for others to follow in the race for workplace innovation, says Kevin Liu, COO of Devoteam Cloud Services.
Google’s collaboration platform, Google Workspace, is still regarded as an unprecedented phenomenon in various sectors. However, there are a few municipalities, such as Salem, Flen and Hagfors, that have taken the leap and are now utilising Google’s services to conduct business. Now Linköping Municipality has joined the rest and will be the first of the major Swedish municipalities to branch out into the world of Google.
This development is the result of a long tender attained by Devoteam, formerly called Avalon. Their attractive pricing won out in the end and left no room for doubt.
Of the top three offers in the final round of the tender, Devoteam’s bid was SEK 31 million for the current eight-year period. Cybercom, also offering Google Workspace, bid at SEK 42 million, while the most costly, an Office 365 offer came from Insight at a resounding SEK 171 million.
“We have done a full-scale procurement for a collaboration platform. We require a more efficient collaboration tool to guarantee that we have the correct information and secure a mobile way of working,” says Michael Lööw, Development Manager at Linköping Municipality’s IT department, Lkdata.
According to Linköping Municipality’s Digitization Director, Jakob Algulin, it has been a long and meticulous process, which finally concluded in what they consider to be the best solution for the municipality and its employees.
“Since we ran an open tender process, we knew we might end up with a completely new supplier and solution, and this was agreed with the Municipality’s Department heads and the steering committee.”It is now an exciting journey ahead of us, as the first large municipality with Google Workspace. We look forward to working with Devoteam in a joint effort to set an example in Sweden with satisfied and productive employees,” he says.
For Michael Lööw and the IT department, it has been an exciting journey that led to the decision, and he hopes that the Municipality of Linköping can serve as a source of inspiration for other municipalities, where the majority use Office 365.
“It’s probably an old habit, to walk the beaten path. We’ve tried to find inspiration during this process, but haven’t found any major municipalities in Sweden to look at. We have looked a lot at how Trondheim municipality [in Norway] has done it,” he says.
The new agreement covers a total of 12,500 users. In addition to the municipality’s 9,000 employees, part-time employees and consultants are also in-scope.
Significant Impact on Business
“This is a major change project, and we will conduct training for the staff and administer surveys that measure customer satisfaction which further influences training. The important thing for us is that we benefit from this as a whole. Our goal has been to procure an entire platform, and because we will run it for eight years, it will have a lasting impact on the business,” says Michael Lööw.
“Running cloud services in the public sector has been a symbolic hot potato for many years. At Linköping Municipality, the question of the Esam investigation and the Cloud Act has been present throughout the process.”
“We started looking at it in 2019 and hired an independent law firm to look at both Microsoft and Google and put it into perspective concerning our requirements,” says Michael Lööw, emphasising the importance of the education component in this context.
“The biggest risks are the individual users. Do they know what they are doing and that they do not share information with the wrong people.”
If there was a lack of inspiration when Linköping needed it, the municipality hopes that they will now be good examples for others, and Michael Lööw is happy to help.
“We already have many people knocking at our door, who want to see how we have done it. The most important thing for us has been to achieve our goals and objectives. We always try to challenge ourselves and look at our needs, pinpoint and make sure things work the way they should. Now it is important to ensure that people are satisfied so that we get the transformation we want. If we achieve what we expect to, we will probably be an excellent reference customer,” he says.
What is your schedule like, when will you be up and running?
“We have a plan for it to be operational in November, and to train ambassadors in August through September. There are 12,500 people influenced by this, so it must work well so that it does not interfere with daily operations.
“However, the ongoing pandemic situation may affect the schedule, but it has also clearly demonstrated the need to have a good collaboration platform.
“The effect that Corona has had toward working at home makes people understand that this is needed. But the Corona situation can obviously affect our schedule,” says Michael Lööw.
For the Google Partner consulting company, Devoteam, business with Linköping municipality is a notable development. Devoteam Sales Manager, Alexander Popovic, is impressed by the collaboration and he hopes that it will provide more recognition in the future.
“We see it as a big breakthrough in Sweden for Google in the public sector. This is extra fun because Linköping really did their homework for two years. They are considered to be one of the municipalities at the forefront in terms of digitalisation. The fact that they are now going against the current and choosing Google Workspace instead of Office 365 should get many other municipalities to reflect on their choices. They should ask themselves if they truly did a proper investigation or if they just did what was easiest,” he says and rejoices in the fact that it has already begun to cause ripples.
“We also see that we have a number of municipalities who have gotten in contact, that have previously not realised that there are alternatives to Office 365, and are asking Devoteam to help them evaluate Google Workspace.”