Mitt Romney’s transition team had plans to inject a heavy dose of corporate America into the federal government, but first they had to adjust to a new email system.
It was called…Gmail.
With many on the team drawn from the ranks of Outlook-using consultants and business executives, the Romney Readiness Project, as the transition was known, had difficulty scheduling meetings on the General Services Administration-provided Gmail system. The revelation is included in the 138-page retrospective of the effort to prepare for a Romney victory.
From the report’s lessons-learned section:
The GSA support staff did an admirable job setting up technological infrastructure in the Switzer Building. The email and calendar solutions were Google-based products. For the sizeable portion of employees who were Gmail users, this posed no problem at all. From employees accustomed to Microsoft Exchange-based email clients, there was initial resistance to convert. The Readiness Project did not establish clear technological standards early enough and allowed systems to coexist. Since Outlook and Gmail don’t communicate well, this proved problematic for scheduling. By anticipating these IT problems earlier, the Project could have established clear protocols and properly assisted with migration and adoption of email clients.