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Department for International Development delivers global relief and aid with the help of Google Sites

24th June: The UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) has introduced Google Sites, part of the Google Apps suite, to assist with the delivery of global relief and aid programmes, with the help of Google for Work Premier Partner, Ancoris.

DFID had a system in place to create project and programme collaboration sites, and began looking for an alternative tool when a change to the existing price model meant it faced a steep rise in costs. The department put the project out to tender on G-Cloud, and awarded it to Ancoris within just four weeks.

Ancoris Logo
DFID is using Google Sites to provide workspaces where staff and local partners can share and access documents and collaborate when delivering aid and development projects, no matter where they are in the world. One site which DFID staff use on a daily basis, helps to manage the procurement and transfer of goods and equipment being sent overseas, including emergency supplies being distributed to Sierra Leone.

The initial roll-out saw DFID migrate around 40 collaboration sites, extracting data from its previous system and loading it into new templates developed by Ancoris. DFID transferred approximately 400 internal users and 1500 external collaborators, with Ancoris helping the organisation to create a change in management strategy, as well as providing online training for internal users.

All was completed to a demanding timescale of less than two months, so the new Google Sites would be live when the contract for the old system ended in January 2015. In just two months, DFID had added a further 20 sites, increasing the total number to 60.

“We can set up sites very quickly, ensuring we are responsive when we need to get the infrastructure in place to support a new programme or team,” explains Julie Gray, Intranet Customer Delivery Manager at DFID. “And because it’s an intuitive tool, people don’t need much training to be able to use it and can quickly get the information to the right people at the right time. That’s very important to us.”

Going forward, DFID is starting to explore the other tools available within Google Apps. Some staff are now using Google Drive to securely share and collaborate on documents, and trialling Hangouts within DFID’s UK offices.

Richard Franklin, Service Delivery Manager at DFID commented: “Procuring Google Apps through G-Cloud, which encourages the use of SMEs like Ancoris, has given DFID the chance to work with a smaller partner rather than a large system integrator and it’s been a really positive and constructive experience. Ancoris’ hands on approach ensured we met our migration deadline and delivered a working solution to the business.”

“Google Sites is a really simple way for government departments to achieve greater agility” commented David McLeman CEO of Ancoris. “The collaborative nature and flexibility of Google Apps for Work has helped DFID to get the right information, to the right people, at the right time, wherever they are in the world.”

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