It’s a leap that, sooner or later, most companies will have to take: migration from on-premise to the cloud. Once the previous solution has been in operation for a number of years, data volume for migration may be high. It only makes sense to turn to the experts – as Swedish design and engineering company AFRY did.
When SharePoint 2010 was about to be phased out, AFRY decided to thin out the sites before upgrading and migrating to SharePoint Online. With 16,000 employees and offices in 40 locations around the globe, there was a lot of data that needed to be moved. The company turned to Fellowmind for assistance and the most current expertise during the migration process.
In late 2019, the technology, design, and consulting company decided to begin migration from the on-prem solution where all the company's documentation was stored in its own environment to the completely cloud-based solution SharePoint Online. The goal was to be able to take advantage of the benefits of a cloud service in terms of increased flexibility, improved security, and more cost-effective document management.
With documentation and data spread over almost 100,000 sites, they soon realized the scope of what they were looking at. It also became clear that not all the information and documentation collected over the years would be included in the new work environment- there was little point taking up cloud space with irrelevant or out-of-date material.
Complexity drove the choice of provider
Despite AFRY’s considerable in-house IT knowledge, support was needed to manage the whole move practically and strategically.
“Basically, the project was very complex and since this was not something we had done before, we decided we shouldn’t run the project on our own. We were looking for assistance from a partner who could contribute expertise and experience from similar change projects,” says Henrik Carlberg.
The choice fell on Fellowmind, which had operated AFRY's SharePoint 2010, and the collaboration was the key to the management and timely completion of the migration.
Massive migration project broken down into manageable pieces
The project began in late 2019 and took almost two years to complete. AFRY's project manager Henrik Carlberg was along for the journey. With his extensive experience in infrastructure and cloud architecture, he was well acquainted with the complexity of a migration process.
“We started together by developing a schedule and activity plan, made risk assessments, held a number of workshops with the reference group and communicated with those involved in the organization. Our SharePoint 2010 consisted of a total of 95,000 sites and also a large part of the business for document management, so it was a massive project that was started, ”says Henrik Carlberg.
In order to get a handle on the enormous amount of information and data that AFRY had, the project was broken down into different phases under Fellowmind's management. The initial phase included an inventory of AFRY's existing data and documentation. What would be saved and brought along in the migration? What information was obsolete and could be deleted? And what information needed to be archived?
Once the inventory was completed, the implementation of the new SharePoint Online solution began. After that point, the migration itself was carried out.
In a final step, the material that was not needed in the daily operations and thus not included in the cloud service was archived. AFRY defined access rules to ensure that the right people can access, read, and process stored data in the future.
The first challenge was to make the business understand the need for the migration and see the positive in it. Having everyone open to contributing to the change is a must for the practical aspects to go smoothly.
“We didn’t put it like ‘now we’re getting rid of the old system you know so well,’ but more that it was time to modernize. That it would now be easier, better, faster, and more accessible. Focus was not on shutting down but more on 'now we will update and get onto a modern platform that is evergreen and better supports our business'."
Smooth collaboration facilitated
The two companies have made progress in the process in smooth collaboration. AFRY had a clear background and action plan early on in the project and then communication and meetings took place as needed.
“As a matter of principle, we have tried to avoid having meetings for the sake of having meetings. Instead, we have communicated internally about what was going on based on the weekly reports that Fellowmind sent us about the situation and what would be happening in the near future. If there were any ambiguities or obstacles, we scheduled a meeting to address them specifically. The focus was on getting the job done and ensuring that the process could continue, ”says Henrik Carlberg.
A number of pilot migrations were carried out to make sure it was what everyone was expecting. Once this was working, migration of the oldest projects was started. Priority ranking was carried out, where the sites were categorized so that it would be clear how the work would unfold and make potential trouble spots foreseeable.
“This way, we eliminated the risk of disruptive effects on the business because these projects were no longer active. Fellowmind also gradually learned what needed to be adjusted and fine-tuned in the process itself, and in late December 2021, we completed the entire transfer after almost 2.5 years. ”
The results have not been long in coming.
"We are already reducing our monthly costs not only because we do not have as much hardware in house, but also in terms of licensing. We have discontinued some servers to realize the ROI," confirms Henrik Carlberg.