I am a big fan of the Government Services Agency or GSA in the US. Canada’s equivalent is Public Works. GSA have been early adopters and supporters of social media with apps.gov but now are on the brink of a giant step forward for government. They are moving to Gmail. Think of the cost savings, the collaboration options, the bottomless in-box (for all intents), but also a recognition that web based makes sense.
Contrast GSA’s innovation with government departments here in Canada that use antiquated browsers (IE 6) and Lotus Notes as a major email platform. I know, Lotus Notes. GSA’s decision is one to be commended.
One of the funny parts of this move is that some believe that this will make the more attractive to younger employees. What is amuses me is that younger staff assume that this is the way that it works. It is their expectation that they should be using today’s technologies. However they are in for a surprise with blocked access to Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter, and are shocked and appalled at zero blogging and a 6-12 month approval lag for a wiki.
It just shows that government can be innovative when it choses to do so. GSA is a shinning beacon for other government departments, agencies or ministries to follow, on either side of the 49th parallel.