Google Cloud Results
Smarter collaboration for 1,300 municipal employees
• Enables the seamless migration of more than 1,000 email accounts
• Saves municipal employees time with easy-to-use collaborative tools
• Supports secure remote working
“Our main objective in transitioning to a cloud-based email and collaboration platform was to improve the quality of our work, and the quality of the services we offer our citizens. After carefully assessing the available options, we decided to go with Google Workspace.” -- Giacomo Angeloni, Councilor for Innovation, Comune di Bergamo
Over the past few years, digital technologies have had a significant impact on the way people and their governments interact. Digital transformation has the ability to streamline collaboration between citizens and organizations, which can improve the way services are designed and delivered.
Giacomo Angeloni, Councilor for Innovation at the Comune di Bergamo, believes that in order to provide citizens with excellent services, you need to first create excellent working conditions for public sector employees. The northern Italian city of Bergamo is home to approximately 122,000 inhabitants, and its municipality, the Comune di Bergamo, is responsible for just about everything that keeps it running smoothly. The Comune employs over 1,300 salaried workers, alongside a number of freelance contractors, to help with the day-to-day business of Bergamo, whether it’s issuing building permits, ensuring public transport is on time, or providing essential services to elderly or vulnerable citizens.
The Comune di Bergamo recently embarked on a digital transformation journey, supported by Google Cloud Premier Partner Injenia. The first step was providing its workforce with secure, user-friendly tools that would streamline collaboration and boost productivity, while reducing IT management and infrastructure costs. “Our main objective in transitioning to a cloud-based email and collaboration platform was to improve the quality of our work, and the quality of the services we offer our citizens. After carefully assessing the available options, we decided to go with Google Workspace,” says Angeloni.
Taking a leap into the future with cloud-based collaboration
“We began using Google Meet during the pandemic. During that particular time, we found Meet offered us the stability, security and versatility we needed.” -- Giacomo Angeloni, Councilor for Innovation, Comune di Bergamo
Before the migration to Google Workspace, email and phone calls were the Comune’s main collaboration tools. But, as with many other organizations, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 accelerated a need for secure, efficient, remote collaboration tools. With its entire workforce working remotely, the Comune took its first steps into online collaboration with Google Meet. “We began using Google Meet during the pandemic. At that time, we didn’t have an internal system for video calls, and we found Meet offered us the stability, security and versatility we needed,” Angeloni explains. The company then created Google Workspace accounts for its directorates, before migrating its entire workforce around a year later in May 2021. “We made it a strategic objective for 2021 to migrate to an email system that would also provide Cloud-based collaboration tools,” Angeloni says.
He was amazed at how smoothly the migration went. “We tend to be cautious in public administration. There’s always the fear that a major shift could negatively affect the services we provide, and in this case, we had to migrate more than 1,000 users. But the migration went off without a hitch, which was a really pleasant surprise.”
Enabling change through intuitive, easy-to-use collaboration tools
“Since the migration to Google Workspace, my colleagues and I can access all the documents we need from anywhere and any device without having to worry about the safety of our data.” -- Giacomo Angeloni, Councilor for Innovation, Comune di Bergamo
The Comune provided training for its employees to help them acclimatize to the new tools, but it found many were already familiar with the platform. “The advantage of using a widespread tool like Gmail is that many people already know and trust the interface. What’s more, we found that several employees were already using Google Drive. So you could say that the migration responded to a real need,” Angeloni says.
Google Workspace has completely replaced all other office suite software, with Comune employees using Google Drive, Google Docs and Google Sheets to collaborate on shared documents. “Since migrating to Google Workspace, my colleagues and I can access all the documents we need from anywhere and any device without having to worry about the safety of our data,” Angeloni says. “Now IT Managers can stop taking care of the servers and have back time to invest in helping citizens.”
While it’s still early days, feedback from employees has been very positive. “My assistant was just delighted when she found that Google Calendar enabled her to set up meetings for me with other councilors without having to ring around their assistants,” says Angeloni. “What’s more, Google Maps enables her to add the meeting location without having to type out instructions for me. She reckons this saves her hours of time.”
Providing increasingly user-centric digital services
The migration is one of the first steps of Comune di Bergamo’s ambitious digital transformation plan. Next, it hopes to help older citizens become more comfortable with technology and empower people to access municipal services from the comfort of their own homes. “Today, 80% of the services that our citizens tend to visit our offices for can now be accessed online. We’re developing a new system that will involve collaborating with citizens.” Angeloni explains, “Rather than simply printing off a certificate and handing it over, our advisors will act as problem solvers who will help people find out how to access the services they need independently.”
Other plans include extending the public WiFi network and enabling city-wide 5G connectivity in time for Bergamo’s upcoming co-mandate as 2023 European Capital of Culture with the nearby town of Brescia. Angeloni looks forward to continuing to expand the city’s digital offer with a move towards further cloud-based services. “Moving to the cloud will enable us to invest our IT resources in our citizens, rather than in infrastructure. My IT manager would love to focus more on our computer literacy programme, rather than maintaining servers.
“Google Workspace has really improved the way we work internally, which has had a knock-on effect on the services we offer inhabitants of Bergamo. We look forward to seeing where the future will take us,” Angeloni concludes.
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.