Today’s post about Office 365 and Microsoft FastTrack was written by Godfred Ofori-Som, IT manager for the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.
The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is a state-owned entity with the vision to become a leading global oil and gas company that strives to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign energy sources. In our bid to ensure that our employees stay constantly connected and equipped to work everywhere, including in the field, we decided to invest in a robust IT structure and in tools that support on-the-go connectivity. This is crucial to support timely communication internally as well as mission-critical email with partners, customers, suppliers and other key stakeholders.
To speed up the implementation process, our management established a hard, fast deadline to address the issue. Led by the IT department, we made a decision to move our critical enterprise apps to the cloud, especially email. We set a two-week timeframe to complete a rollout that would minimize interruption.
Our strategy was to retain some apps on-premises, at least for now, but we knew that moving a good chunk of our software to the cloud would free up IT resources for other things—to prepare to move to Windows 10, drive adoption of our new solutions and provide employees with better support and experience. This meant that we would also have time to explore possible technology projects to enhance how the business works, and not just streamline IT.
Our first step was to convince our management team that security and reliability wouldn’t be an issue. Once we established that Microsoft security capabilities are fully supported in hybrid and on-premises deployments alike, everyone was on board. We started looking at provider options, and we didn’t have to go far: we already use Windows Server and the Windows operating system. Plus, we hold a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, and we’ve built trust with Microsoft based on our close relationship. Office 365 was our top choice.
However, we didn’t have a past experience with hybrid migration projects like this one, so when our Microsoft Technical Account Manager told us about Microsoft FastTrack, we were excited. Teaming up with our assigned FastTrack Manager and FastTrack Engineers proved useful from day one. Reports generated from tools available on fasttrack.microsoft.com gave us a solid up-front assessment of our IT infrastructure and environment.
The FastTrack team helped us get started with the migration to Office 365 and then showed us how to proceed on our own. They also helped us create an adoption plan to encourage employees to use Office 365, to develop best practices and to manage the changes. We worked with Microsoft Premier Services Support, and together, FastTrack and Premier not only helped us deploy Office 365, but also developed a high-level view—a cloud strategy for the whole business. This included providing advice on how to migrate our other apps over time and get the most out of the capabilities and components of Office 365.
Our employees are already changing the way they work. Managers can now share data with each other and access it even while they’re traveling—a new best practice—rather than store data on their computers. Employee communication and engagement have also been improved. Employees can connect on Yammer by posting photos, videos and more. Our Corporate Affairs department shares quick updates with staff on Yammer, which further drives collaboration among the teams within the business.
So, if you need a quick migration to the Microsoft Cloud and don’t have the in-house resources or expertise to get started, FastTrack is a great option. I’m confident in the reliability of the Office 365 solution, and very pleased with how Microsoft and my team worked together to achieve a successful migration and build a foundation for our ideas going forward.