A Systems & Infrastructure Integration Programme was undertaking a major programme to integrate the infrastructure, applications and users of an acquired organisation into the parent company systems.
Zeroarena was charged with managing the migration of users across the UK and Europe within a defined timeframe and budget without disruption to the acquired organisation’s staff. The project was the “public face” of the complex and highly sensitive broader programme.
Approximately 2,000 users, their security accounts and devices were to be migrated to the parent organisation’s Identity and Access Management (IAM) systems and Active Directory. Devices were to be upgraded to a standardised Windows 10 desktop client. For technical reasons account and device changes were to be carried out at the same time and with minimal interruption to users’ work therefore migrations had to be completed overnight.
What We Did
A pilot migration had already been completed when we were assigned to the project; the first task, therefore, was to assess and learn the lessons from this pilot. The assessment identified several initial actions:
- Establish project governance and clear lines of communication with the site being migrated
- Improve the detail and accuracy of the scheduling processes both to improve communications with users and to achieve maximum throughput
- Ensure users were adequately briefed on the impact of the changes they were experiencing
We established regular governance and information meetings with local site management and made sure that issues were raised directly with the project rather than being escalated. Changes to the hyper-care arrangements were implemented so that the site had confidence that issues would be fully and quickly addressed.
In order further to build confidence we dedicated a resource solely to manage the scheduling of migrations. The resource was to liaise with local line managers and users and ensure they had input to the schedule and therefore were committed to it.
Finally, we identified a further resource to develop the process and supporting materials for returning upgraded Windows 10 devices to users so that we could verify that the migration had been successful and users were able to work in the new environment.
Once the changes were in place, migrations at the first site commenced. We were then able to focus on scheduling the other sites (there were five in all across the UK and Netherlands) and developing a site engagement process that drew on the lessons learned from the first site. We visited each site to brief local management, obtain their commitment to the project, establish governance processes and conduct preliminary technical surveys.
Throughout the migration period of roughly nine months, the project team met frequently to review progress, learn lessons and plan forward. The “plan, do, review” approach meant that the project delivered considerable improvements in customer satisfaction and delivery efficiency over its lifetime.
Key additional lessons learned and remediation implemented by the project included:
- When users delivered their devices for migration. the information about their requirements was frequently incomplete. We enhanced the drop-off process to ensure requirements were logged for each device/user and thatusers were briefed on the migration and return processes.
- Application usage information was initially collected via an automated discovery tool. The information was often inaccurate by the time of migration resulting in problems for technicians and users. We instituted a policy of visiting each user before migration to verify usage information. The accuracy of migrations was greatly enhanced and issues significantly reduced.
- At first, support technicians struggled to cover user queries and issues in a timely fashiion. By enhancing and emphasising the process for logging issues, we were better able to manage the technicians’ time. Analysis of the logs enabled us to prevent many issues by changes to the migration or return process.
- A step in the migration process depended on resolver groups to update applications that had their own access controls; this delayed the availability of some applications to users. We strengthened liaison with these teams, established a single point of contact and briefed them on how their actions affected the migration. This led to a marked improvement in the speed and accuracy of the account changes.
- One site used many specialist applications with which the technical team were not familiar. This meant that issues could take considerable time and effort to resolve. We arranged for a local applications SME to be assigned to the project for the migrations at that site. This individual addressed many issues directly and trained the technical team so that they could take steps to avoid future issues or remedy them more easily when they did arise.
- The user and device migrations were delivered to schedule for each site and within the timescale and budget required by the programme.
- User satisfaction with the migration, based on post-migration surveys, was 96%.
- The Europe migration team developed such a high level of efficiency and customer satisfaction that it was deemed more economical to send the team to carry out the migrations at a California site than to use US resources.
- The Europe team was asked to provide presentations and training on its methods to other migration teams.