Our client, a global leader in legal and regulatory content management for corporations, engaged us to plan and execute a complex migration project prompted by the divestiture of a major portion of the business.
Approximately 2,000 users and workstations needed to migrate from an existing Office 365 tenant to a newly created tenant on a tight timeline. This case study focuses on that Office 365 migration. (A second case study about this project focuses on migrating critical enterprise applications in Azure.)
Complicating matters significantly, the new environments needed to mesh with existing systems in use by the buying entity. The buyer, a global conglomerate with related-but-separately branded business units, wanted to achieve unified systems in some ways but not in others. The upshot was a highly complex and quickly changing situation that required rapid recalibration of deployment plans and called upon a level of technical ingenuity that arises only with extensive hands-on experience managing thorny enterprise-scale scenarios.
In planning this project, Concurrency designed a custom-tailored migration strategy that minimizes—and to a large extent eliminates—user disruption. The plan encompassed accounts, devices, infrastructure, applications, and more. Working with our partners at Binary Tree, we carefully set the stage to move all of these components over, while also accommodating some unexpected twists relating to business needs at the new parent-company level.
For account and device migrations, Concurrency’s project team included a technical architect, systems engineer, business analyst, program manager, and project manager. The team worked closely with our client’s internal IT teams, both in initial planning and throughout the execution processes.
In fact, this project came to epitomize the value—especially when faced with unexpected challenges—of building a high level of goodwill between our consulting teams and our client’s internal resources. For example, during one phase of the project, we arranged for some workloads to run from our client’s sites in India. A Concurrency team member traveled there to facilitate.
Due to the time difference between India and North America, having these workloads run halfway around the world helped minimize user disruption here in the U.S. This solution came as a direct result of the rapport built at a prior stage of the project, when one of our experts worked closely with members of the India-based team during their preparatory visit to the U.S.
We also worked hand-in-hand with our client’s internal teams in finding solutions to technical challenges relating to the parent companies’ business needs. Solving these problems required highly creative solutions relating to domains. For example, it was necessary to locate the Office 365 tenant on a domain different from the one to be used for both incoming and outgoing email—not only for the business unit getting acquired but for other divisions within the new parent-company organization as well.
To manage the migration, we prepared the new, Office 365 environment through a series of interrelated steps, including:
- Implementing a new Azure Active Directory environment and synchronizing it with the existing Active Directory domain;
- Establishing new management tools, including System Center Configuration Manager;
- Defining new group policies;
- Establishing a new certificate authority, and more.
When it came time for user-workstation migrations, we followed an approach that minimized impact on users. Users received a notification to kindly leave their computers powered on overnight for reconfiguration. Then, a series of specific steps unfolded in a particular order, including temporarily suspending encryption; removing some agents; cutting over to join the new Azure AD; turning encryption back on; and running a variety of scripts to change the user experience.
In the morning, users were prompted to newly log in to services and turn on multi-factor authentication—making for an almost invisible change from the user perspective.
We also migrated all shared resources, such as on-premises servers, printers, scanners, and other devices. The end result was 2,000 user accounts and a wide variety of corporate resources, all moved to a wholly new environment, despite a high level of technical challenge.
Now, building on the high level of regard we established with our client, we are honored to be helping our client move forward on other projects that move its business forward post-divestiture.