Successfully moving fifteen years of legacy data to the Cloud
“We were taking on some new business and we didn’t want to take it into Lotus Notes.”
Head of IT Technical Services & Facilities, Riverstone Europe
- European operation of the Riverstone Group
- Manage over $2.6billion in gross liabilities through offices in Brighton & London
- Migrated 100 users from on-premise Lotus Notes to Microsoft Office 365
In 2012, Riverstone Europe decided to move from an existing, on-premise Lotus Notes solution to Microsoft Office 365, in order to both work with more flexible, industrystandard technology and align with the US parent company. Riverstone Europe wanted a more modern, streamlined environment that integrated fully with existing Office tools, and one that would reduce its reliance on its four internal servers and network infrastructure.
“We had to make the decision to move to the cloud or stay on-premise, and then try and find a partner to help us do that” says Head of IT Technical Services and Facilities Alan Dillaway. However, the company wasn’t just looking for a partner who could help set up the Office 365 tenancy, but one that could help them convert their legacy data. “We had fifteen years of historical data that backs up our business” explains Dillaway, “and it’s absolutely essential because we use it day in, day out. It bolsters our ability to work in business, and we need to be able to back up what we’re doing – often by discovery and disclosure through email.”
After research, Dillaway & his team shortlisted three Microsoft Gold Partner companies, & following negotiations went for Core. As well as a convenient London base & a flexible attitude – the initial meeting was organised at fifteen minute’s notice – Core brought other benefits to the table. “They had their Gold Partner status; they were very knowledgeable; they had already done some Lotus Notes migration work, so they ticked all the boxes from our terms of reference” says Dillaway.
Together with Core, Riverstone Europe planned an ambitious migration & data conversion plan, along with user-acceptance & testing. Following initial discussions in May & June, the new solution had to be in place by mid- August. “We had to get onto the cloud to facilitate some corporate acquisition work” explains Alan Dillaway.
“We were taking on some new business and we didn’t want to take it into Lotus Notes. We had to get our infrastructure up & running & prepared to receive new data.”
Despite the technical challenges inherent to coming from a Lotus Notes environment to Office 365, the process ran very smoothly. Riverstone was looking to gain knowledge from working closely with Core in the Microsoft environment, but was also able to share knowledge back, as both internal & external teams found issues & ways to overcome them.
Throughout the process, Core bent over backwards to make the transition as smooth as possible. “They needed to be flexible, they needed to be adaptable, they needed to work within our changing requirements” says Dillaway. “Milestones changed, placeholders changed & we had to work with the support team there to effectively move the goalposts.” Dillaway has nothing but praise
for Core’s consultants. “They were very professional & very available” he adds. “A lot of this stuff was done at evenings & weekends & I can remember many phone & Lync conversations late at night.”
The results are worth the hard work. Riverstone now has a powerful & manageable Office 365 solution that delivers all the lower administration & cost efficiency benefit rates the valuable historical data that the company has built up. The company is promoting the benefits of Lync, videoconferencing & desktop application sharing internally, & is looking to explore rolling that into SharePoint during the new year.
Meeting security and compliance needs
The company also looks to make the most of the close integration of Exchange, Lync, SharePoint & Office 2010. “You go into Lync, & the calendar reflects itself in Lync” says Dillaway. What’s more, Core helped Riverstone get Office 365 working with a fleet of 50 Blackberry devices. “There are a lot of synergies happening now” he adds, “things that were a challenge under Lotus Notes”.
With Core’s help, Riverstone is now equipped to support & maintain the new solution, relying on more powerful & intuitive GUI-based tools & knowledge gleaned from training sessions & the setup process. Despite a dramatic change in their email systems, users are happy too. “It’s been very well received” says Dillaway. “If you sat any of them down & put them back in front of Lotus Notes, I’m sure they’d react & kick back!” Office 365 isn’t just for Microsoft houses, but for any organisation wanting to move from outdated solutions into a more cost-effective, less admin-heavy cloud-based future.