The Royal Government of Bhutan launched the e-Government Masterplan early in 2014, making a major public policy shift from Government to e-Government. This requires the transformation from a government that is almost totally reliant on paper to one that is comfortable working electronically.
To enable such a transformation we must create a reliable and secure electronic environment where the government can work without concerns about losing content and with the assurance that information shared will be delivered without fail.
The foundation for such an environment must be a reliable government-wide common electronic communication system. Therefore, the use of a secure email system for official correspondence will help this move to a paper-less or less paper work environment.
The Royal Government of Bhutan thus approved the implementation of Google Apps to facilitate a secure email system and collaboration across the Whole of Government.
The government faces significant limitation of resources, both financial and human expertise and, therefore, identified this cloud-based solution as the most appropriate and pragmatic option to start with.
The initiative will promote Good Governance, one of the pillars of Gross National Happiness.
What is Google Apps?
Google Apps is a suite of web-based messaging and collaboration applications that Google hosts on their own servers. Google provides these applications as a "service," rather than as software you have to download and install. To access these applications, you simply use a web browser on any computer that's connected to the Internet.
The Apps will encourage innovative changes in processes within the government, demonstrating the benefits of ICT in a small and resource constrained country like Bhutan.
Some of the major features that we will be introducing:
We will have a reliable and stable electronic environment where all branches of government and civil servants can work with the assurance of emails being sent and received reliably and safely. This has the potential to fundamentally change our working culture.
We will now have the option of working collaboratively in real time. A group (Cabinet, CoS, offices, etc.) can work on the same document (like minutes of a meeting) at the same time, without having to coordinate different comments sent by different people at different times. With this, for example, minutes can be signed at the end of the meeting itself.
How much time do officials spend trying to coordinate meetings and trying to get a suitable time for all stakeholders to come together? The use of a common calendar system that will reflect the availability of officers will eliminate the need to call people repeatedly to confirm their participation.
We are currently unable to access important documents if we are not carrying our computers. With this transition we will be able to move selected documents on to the cloud, making them available to officers through their smart phones, etc..
Along with the above features, this environment will also make available the ability for officials to share contacts, develop websites, and hold video conferences. All this comes as a package.
What does Google Apps include?
Your new Google Apps account will include the following services: