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The federal government’s Shared Services Canada IT consolidation program expects to save some $50 million by improving the way government offices handle email.

Shared Services Canada generated savings “almost immediately” by taking a government-wide approach to integrating the government’s IT infrastructure, Diane Finley, minister of public works and government services, said in her speech at the Government and Technology Exhibition and Conference (GTEC) yesterday in Ottawa.

“Email transformation will result in $ 50 million of taxpayers’ dollars saved,” she said.

Shared Services Canada was created in 2011with a mandate to transform how the government manages its IT infrastructure in areas such as email delivery, data centres and telecommunications services of 43 federal departments and agencies.

No specific numbers were provided on how much money has been saved by Shared Services Canada so far.

In operation for a little more than a year, the program also aims to reduce federal government data centres form 300 to fewer than 20 and reduce 3,000 overlapping computer networks.

The part of the program dealing with government email intends to consolidate more than 100 email systems. The past year was spent preparing for its massive task said Benoit Long, Shared Services Canada’s senior assistant deputy minister for transformation services strategy and design.

He said the department has started rolling out a unified email addresses to more than 377,000 government employees working in more than 3,500 buildings across the country. A secure government wireless network is also being built.

The government also entered into a deal with Bell Canada in the creation of a data warehouse that will consolidate the government’s server needs. The plan will involve the use of private-sector server farms.

Bell Canada and CGI Information Systems have won the $398 million seven year contract to run the federal government’s consolidated email system in June this year. The government expects to realize savings of $50 million a year beginning 2015 from the transformation.

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