With the Google Apps in place, there is a slow but steady transition towards use of email for communication and decrease in traditional communication practices like sending letters between departments according to the Department of Information Technology and Telecom (DITT).
The mandate of setting up Google apps was to promote a paperless working environment, reduce the need for equipment and travel over time and ease administrative burden by increased efficiency.
DITT points out that there has been significant improvement in its usage as compared to the previous usage statistics.
Since the start of Google apps in June 5 last year, the department has conducted training of trainers of about 250 ICT officers across the country. Almost all the 5000 users across government agencies have activated the apps.
Talking about the collaboration across the whole of the government,
Information and Communication officer (ICT), Ministry of information and Communication, Sanjay Gurung said almost 90% of the licenses have already been activated and the rest 10% will be activated at the earliest.
He added that with the set up of the apps, a new platform has been found where government officials can work together.
On the earlier working of the government, Sanjay Gurung said a lot of correspondences between offices used to happen through printed letters delivered physically or delivered using fax.
While with apps, he said there is potential to significantly decrease paper based communications. “Documents can be scanned using a scan feature within Google drive on smart phones without a scanning device and emailed directly using mobile phones,” he added.
Talking on the apps Google provides, he said the with the availability of offline feature the physical copies of documents need not be maintained as all the documents are stored on google drive which can
be accessed even when not connected to the Internet.
Further, he said most of the agencies will no longer need to maintain their own email servers reducing the physical infrastructure and human resources.
He also added the apps like Google hangouts allows meetings of 15 people to video conference at any time so thereby officials need not travel to attend meetings, saving time and money.
In addition, Sanjay Gurung said the security provided by a world class service provider greatly improves on the scattered server rooms that were being used to house email servers.
A shared cloud based solution apps provides officers across the government to work collaboratively, thus significantly reducing administrative burden in the government, he said, citing an example where uniform minutes of meeting would be developed reducing the time taken to finalize the documents across agencies.
The finalizing of the document would be carried out in a day or
hours, which earlier took two weeks, he added.
There were, however, some problems faced in promoting the use of the apps.
Lack of budget in DITT is the main constraint preventing trainings at the regional and Dzongkhag level to make computer illiterate users use google apps.
“Many users from agencies are still concerned about security and privacy issue. Many of the users are more comfortable using their legacy email systems and it is a challenge to make them shift to this new system,” he said.
DITT also identifies unstable internet connectivity in dzongkhags and regional offices as other challenge.
He said that the department is constantly following up to help address issues faced by the ministries and agencies and to provide support.
On the progress of the apps, he applauded the ICT personnel of the line agencies in playing a crucial role in providing user trainings, operational assistance, and taking ownership of the secure platform.