Firstly, RedCortex helped construct a 5-year strategy for WG based on our vast experience of technology ‘forward planning’, and the importance of the two primary components of creating a successful strategy. Firstly, strategies require investment, so a strategy must demonstrably justify benefits to the organisation; secondly, a strategy must be delivered, ideally within a set-out timeframe, as strategies have a shelf-life.
Another key consideration for Public Sector organisations is the move from Capital to Revenue based spending, needing complex financial forecasting. There is also a move within all industries toward more flexible working, and this needs to be catered for, whilst balanced with a need for increased vigilance in the face of growing cyber threats.
The strategy we wrote was then turned into a Business Case, with estimation of costs and timelines used to evidence that the options put forward were the right direction for WG. Following approval from WG’s main board, three change programmes above were constructed to deliver the primary components of the strategy.
- The in-source of the organisation’s ICT service from it’s incumbent System Integrator (Atos)
- The adoption of Cloud technology including rolling out Office 365 and the migration of all infrastructure, applications and software to Microsoft Azure
- The rollout of an End User Compute programme, providing new Windows 10 Desktops and Laptops to the organisation’s 6,000 staff
To establish early confidence in the strategy, we proposed that we would migrate one of the largest and most complex applications used on the WG estate, to Azure. The rationale being that this would prove suitability of the Cloud for performance and scale, enabling the WG to further champion the strategy based on empirical information. The WG document management system is one of the most utilised applications, based on legacy code and with a significant amount (22TB) of data stored within. As the first application to be migrated to Azure, it made use of the multi environment platform that we had setup for WG and helped us test and prove that our data migration strategy was purpose-fit. On the first day of the live service in Azure, our most rewarding feedback was that our users had hardly noticed a difference, but that maybe the service was running a little faster!
Once the decision to move to the Cloud was fully endorsed, it was time to deliver some crucial new functionality for the user base. We initiated a project to move away from on premises Exchange to Office 365 and an outdated client (Outlook 2010) and migrated to Azure AD for identity management, a new client (Outlook 2016), and in addition, rolled out iPhones to corporate phone users. We established a full mobility solution to manage the iPhones (and any new laptops) through Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS, Inc. InTune).
As part of the Intranet upgrade solution, we have migrated, designed and develop a fully bi-lingual, accessible and mobile modern Intranet from SharePoint 2010 into SharePoint Online, encompassing 70 Modern Communication sites, flat architectural approaches, Hub Sites, Microsoft Flow for approval processes and automation, PowerApps, Forms and Stream to deliver the next generation of technology and features. This including a migration from SharePoint 2010 taking and modernising specific content WG wanted to keep as part of the new Intranet. The includes a number of development features to deliver enhancements to SharePoint based on SharePoint Framework, include setup of new environments, CDT and provisioning scripts.
Finally, for the migration programme to complete, WG needed to move its full infra and applications landscape to Azure, through the following work:
- Design and Implementation of New On-Premises Network Transit
- Azure network and virtual machine infrastructure
- Azure based demilitarized zones and public facing online web application architectures
- SharePoint implementations for new departments Document Management Requirements
- Design and creation of Citrix Cloud service for VDI and shared Zen Desktop
- Design and Build of ZScaler Cloud Proxy
- SAP migration to cloud
- Flexnet Asset Management upgrade
- Implementation of a new service management tool – BMC Remedy
There were a large number of Enterprise Applications on premises and declared in scope for migration. Following the initial, successful move of the document management system, the programme initiated a workstream to tackle the remainder.
From a subset of sequel databases to an enterprise instance of SharePoint, the very small to the very large applications were reviewed individually on merit for suitability to:
- Be retired (and replaced with new Microsoft Office/other more appropriate applications)
- Be migrated/upgraded (for applications already written in appropriate code, such as .Net)
- Be rewritten (into application code appropriate for Azure migration)
In parallel, we undertook an estate-wide End User Compute rollout of over 6,000 Laptops and Desktops, incorporating a new Windows 10 operating system and Office 2016 desktop software. With a target completion schedule of nine months, and a comprehensive business change exercise, it represented the first major piece of ICT change that WG would have implemented using internal staff following the insource of its ICT provision. This included the setting up of interim technical support through the transition phase, to aid a smooth onboarding of staff and technical responsibility.
WG, through the course of 2019 completed the change programme to develop and manage its own modernised ICT landscape and technical capability.