Microsoft Office 365 migration of a Central-European insurance firm
As part of a large-scale move to Office 365 for email and identity infrastructure, a mid-sized insurance company in Central Europe -subsidiary of a larger banking group – was looking to line up its IT with shared cloud components used by its peers. Adopting cloud technologies would not only allow the client to reduce infrastructure and maintenance costs but would also facilitate improved compliance with regulations and a better fit with the company’s peers in terms of security governance.
The move would prove to be particularly challenging for multiple reasons. First, historical growth and technical debt resulted in the fact that backend identity infrastructure was composed of many legacy elements. Second, a strong dependency on the set-up of shared components existed, requiring close coordination with other projects. And finally, with resource capacity under pressure from parallel projects, outside experts from multiple nationalities were involved to help deliver the project. Attention would have to be paid to team alignment on objectives and tasks due.
After the project headed off with a false start, Projectworx was called in to replace current project leadership and create proper traction with both local technical teams and external technology experts.
What did Projectworx do?
After examining the materials available from an initial assessment of the local as-is situation, a proper vision of the to-be situation was established by facilitating workshops on identity management and mail flow design. A plan of action was created consisting of multiple technological tracks, each involving several subject matter experts to deliver the necessary changes.
The project was followed up in close coordination with local management and local project resources. Being dependent on other teams to deliver specific shared components of which we would be the first actual users, required stakeholder management and regular follow-up to ensure both projects were aligned in terms of milestones delivered. Use of agile project management methodologies helped us cope with a dynamic project environment and deliver as much progress as possible, as early as possible.
Leveraging the power of Microsoft Azure, information transfers for form metadata were set up between SharePoint Online and the Adobe Livecycle server, and a shadow-version of the forms in SharePoint reflected what forms were available to users on-premise. A second service, once again leveraging Azure, was set designed to send the choices made in the cloud interface back to the on-premise systems, where Adobe Livecycle finally created the requested forms and provided the user with feedback.
What did Projectworx deliver?
After describing the as-is situation in higher detail, a vision for the final to-be situation was defined and subsequent high-level and low-level technical designs were created for both identity management and email infrastructure. A comprehensive project plan was delivered including a backlog of all necessary technical changes, and execution was planned and followed-up on in an agile manner using monthly sprints. The multinational team, consisting of both local resources as well as external consultants was coordinated in a partly remote, partly on-site mode.
Project delivery was smooth, and the launch of the project took place on a pre-agreed moment with our stakeholders, during an extended weekend as the changes required additional time to be executed. During the course of the project, delivery underwent minimal changes – shifting only slightly due to delays by an external supplier of one of our prerequisite components. The general experience after the migration cutover was very smooth, with some end-users not noticing the migration to Office 365 at all.
Moving to the cloud allows the client to decommission costly on-premise infrastructure and better align with group-wide policies in terms of compliance, mobile device management and security. Migrating to Office 365 also opened doors for the client to move beyond email and identity management infrastructure, and the client is investigating the adoption of several other tools new to the company, such as collaborative team environments and intranet solutions.