As county embraces Google, who will speak for Outlook enthusiasts?

Sam Kim, the county's chief information officer, wants county employees to give up their Microsoft Outlook

Sam Kim, the county’s chief information officer, wants county employees to give up their Microsoft Outlook emails.

Clark County employees can keep using their Microsoft Outlook emails until their millennial coworkers pry them from their cold, dead hands. Or, more likely, until they become outdated and are forced to start using the county’s new Google-powered office software system.

Last week, Clark County council unanimously approved a contract with Tempus Nova, a tech consulting firm, to deploy a suite of office apps developed by Google that would eventually replace the Microsoft products the county currently uses.

Sam Kim, the county’s chief information officer, explained to the council that staying with Microsoft would require $759,012 in upgrades over the next three years, in addition to another million for public records software. He also added that younger, millennial workers preferred Google products anyways. According to Kim’s cost analysis, switching to Google’s suite of office products, which interface with Microsoft products, would cost $477,627 and would include the public records software.

“This is a good time to make the decision,” Kim told the council. “Do we want to save money and move on to something different, or do we want to stick with what we got and spend more money?”

Councilor Eileen Quiring, who noted that she is “not a tech expert,” was there to be the voice for Microsoft-loving county employees.

“Ok, if they wanted to use Outlook?” she asked Kim.

“They can still keep their Outlook,” responded Kim. “They can still keep their Word, Excel, Powerpoint; it’s just that when new employees come on board, most likely, we will direct them to G Suite.”

After the meeting, Kim told The Columbian that the county has perpetual licenses for its Microsoft programs, but said they will no longer be usable by 2020.

During the meeting he acknowledged that for some employees, the transition will be “painful” because the look at feel of their software will be so different.

“Instead of launching things from your laptop or PC, you’ll be launching it from your web browser,” he said.

“Potentially launching them out the window,” added Councilor Julie Olson.

“Well, we won’t be doing that,” he said.

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