Seamless transition from complex global environment ensures business-as-usual in facilities service divestment.
One of the largest food services and facilities companies in the world, operating in over 50 countries and providing services in over 30,000 client locations, Compass Group Southern Africa shareholding was acquired by Thebe Investment Corporation (Pty) Ltd (TIC) in March 2019. The resulting company, Empact Group, needed to create its own independent IT environment with no negative impact on its workforce from day one of operations. Our prime goal was to ensure business as usual for all Empact employees and customers. There needed to be minimal user input because the business is widely distributed with many staff working on site across 30,000 client locations. There were also significant time constraints on the migration.
“The services we provide mean our business is pretty much a 24 x 7 operation, so any break or downtime in key line of business systems as we migrated would not have been acceptable”
Alan Quinn, CFO, Empact Group
Compass Group had three domains to migrate and a number of systems that were not running the optimal operating system version. In addition, there were 13 separate historic businesses that had to be accounted for, when supporting email traffic from the long-standing customer base.
We’re proudly vendor agnostic and scope out every project with our clients, before selecting an approach that suits their commercial needs. In this instance, we identified Binary Tree as our optimal partner for both the migration of the Outlook email and OneDrive for Business workloads, as well as for transitioning vital infrastructure.
“Our experience of working with Binary Tree for over 15 years gave us the confidence it would address the inherent complexity in completing this migration successfully.”
George Amoils, Commercial Director at Cloud Essentials
Disruption-free business as usual
The migration was phased to take place over the course of several months. In order to minimse disruption to the business we established co-existence from day one with fault-free email exchange, meeting scheduling and document-sharing between all staff, regardless of whether they had already been moved to the new Empact Group Office 365 tenant, or were still part of the main domain. Throughout the migration process, BinaryTree’s ability to keep email addresses and calendars in sync meant staff could continue to work without disruption and, using address re-writing services, the outside world could still contact them using the legacy email addresses, any of the previously acquired company email addresses or the new identity.
Seamless, user-friendly experience
In order to ensure that staff had immediate access to all their regular resources and applications after they had logged into the new environment, we created a new Active Directory (AD) service into which all existing user profiles, servers and other objects needed to be migrated. This ensured that it did not appear to staff as though they were brand new users; an important component in ensuring staff remained happy and able to get on with their day-to-day tasks.
Binary Tree’s AD Pro solution allowed the AD migration to take place seamlessly and enabled all three domains to be migrated from one central console.
Coping with complexity
Once the new AD had been commissioned, the process of getting servers and client systems to switch across also proved to be a challenge owing to a mix of older platforms and a highly distributed workforce.
“For platforms running older operating systems, even though the software could not do a full migration, we were able to use certain functionality to assist in making the manual cutover process to the new AD server easier. AD Pro also allowed users to move across to the new network without being in the office.”
Dean Gilau, Cloud Architect at Cloud Essentials,
Highly efficient project completed ahead of deadlines and delivering unexpected cost savings
Cloud Essentials project managed a seamless migration, surpassing timeline expectations and therefore reducing overall costs because only one month of Microsoft licence overlap was required.
“The tools used during the migration simplified and streamlined the process. This freed up time for us to attend other concerns as we paved the way for our move to Azure.”
Danie du Preez, Senior Systems Engineer at Empact Group
Daily updates for the IT team and a weekly summary for other key stakeholders ensured that Empact Group were kept up to date on the progress of the migration as it evolved. Our end-to-end project management team also supported the switch over of various servers that were still residing on-premises. These hosted other critical line of business applications, including business intelligence and analytics systems, payroll application and staff training platform. Over time the Group’s intention is to cloudify these servers and introduce other new technologies that will help streamline its business and enhance customer service.
“This was a smooth migration with very little impact on the business during the changeover, we would definitely use Cloud Essentials and the Binary Tree toolset again if we need to do another migration!”
Alan Quinn, CFO, Empact Group
Empact Group (ex Compass)
Global operations in over 50 countries
1,500 employees widely distributed over 30,000 client locations
Migration and amalgamation of three domains, systems not running optimal operating system versions and 13 historic businesses’ email traffic
Co-existence required from day one
- New, independent Microsoft 365 tenancy
- Seamless transition, minimising disruption
- Delivered ahead of deadline, resulting in licence cost-savings