Google complained publicly that the bidding process was intentionally stacked against it and ultimately lost out on the $50 million, three-year contract to migrate the state's email to the cloud.

Elizabeth Montalbano, Contributor

October 19, 2010

3 Min Read

After more than a yearlong procurement process, the state of California has decided on Microsoft's hosted email services as one option for a major consolidation of its email systems.

Under a more than $50 million, three-year contract, Microsoft and CSC will work together to help the state migrate official email -- 80 percent of which currently operate on Microsoft Exchange servers -- to the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), according to a blog post on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) attributed to Gail Thomas-Flynn, Microsoft U.S. state and local government vice president.

The state also will offer an email service from its Office of Technology Services as an option for migration, said Bill Maile, a spokesman from the California CIO's office. That service will be hosted in the state's own data centers, while the BPOS service is hosted by Microsoft.

CSC is performing the migration of existing email to the cloud, which will require the potential elimination of 130 email systems that use two other platforms besides Exchange, CSC said in a press statement.

The company also will provide Microsoft Cloud Services in a secure environment, including email and legal e-discovery services, as well as collaboration tools for mobile users. According to Microsoft, California already has begun the migration, with some state agencies and localities, such as the City of Carlsbad, already switching on-premise software for BPOS. State executive branch agencies are required to migrate by June 2011 to the new email system, choosing between either BPOS or the Office of Technology Services service, Maile said.

The CIO's office is currently working with state agencies to decide how and when they will move systems according to their needs, he said. California will publish a scorecard at the end of the year to show agency progress. The state has been working for more than a year to secure a contract for consolidating its email systems on a hosted system, a process that involved a slightly contentious fight for the contract between Google and Microsoft.

Google even complained publicly that the bidding process was stacked against the company on purpose, something the state denied, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

In the report, Google spokesman Andrew Kovacs said that Google tried to compete for the contract but bowed out of the process before fully taking it on because the state demanded requirements that were impossible for the search company to meet.

California's email collaboration is part of a broad statewide plan to improve the efficiency, cost-effectiveness and management of its IT operations, which have been in a state of disarray. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger mandated the strategy in an executive order issued in February, an order that California codified via state law last month.

While California is making some progress on shaping up its IT operations, not everything is working smoothly. The governor recently cut $6.8 million in funds for a student-progress tracking database, citing poor management of the project by the California Department of Education.

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