Restructuring IT assets within any organisation is a challenging prospect…

Whether a business is undergoing a merger or divestiture, the restructuring of IT assets, within any organisation is a challenging prospect, be that within an on-premises solution or within the cloud (Office 365, Azure, Google, Amazon). Silversands has many years of experience of working with businesses who are enduring a change of this magnitude, the following key areas have been outlined as those which are unavoidable and require careful consideration.

Unifying Email

Often the first requirement in a merger or separation scenario is the use of an email domain, or domains, which reflect the new business structure. This is a quick win as it presents an ‘identity’ to both colleagues and external associates which reflects this change in position. The chosen name(s) will vary depending on the circumstances involved, but will typically be one of the existing domains or a completely new identity to represent the new business.

Additionally, a single Global Address List (GAL) can further foster the sense of the new business entity. For example, this can allow users from any of the merging organisations to retrieve contact details for any user within the new consolidated business.

A wide variety of platforms exist which can deliver this functionality, one or some of these may already exist within the business and could be used for this purpose. To determine the best approach, several factors should be considered:

  • Which, if any, of these options is a business requirement?
  • How long is this transitional period expected to last?
  • What level of interaction is expected between the merging organisations?
  • What tools and services already exist within the businesses, how well have they been provisioned and maintained and are they fit for purpose?

Restructuring of IT Management

Once a business can collaborate effectively using email federation, and before any further steps are taken within the infrastructure consolidation programme, it is often necessary to review the current and required IT support structure to ensure that IT services within the combined businesses can be managed and can operate effectively.

This is an especially important step as it ensures that an appropriate Data, Service and Operational management framework can be created and incorporated into any newly designed directory structure prior to live users or services being introduced or transitioned.

Additionally, inclusion of this element also increases the efficiency of creating and implementing a platform design, in addition to enhancing the logistical approach to the transition process.

Typically, this activity will include areas such as:

  • Rationalisation of support roles and teams
  • Analysis of IT services and systems
  • Creation of documentation relating to the required support matrix
  • Design of a support framework and its relationship to the new combined Directory

Platform design

Prior to the transformation of two separate IT infrastructures, it is important to review the current architectural design for the delivery of IT services within the combined business to ensure that agility is optimised for current and future IT services and solutions.

In adopting this approach, the business can strategically review and select the most appropriate architecture to ensure that its
business services can operate in the most effective manner.

Typically, this is also a good opportunity to review and rationalise any pre-existing services and solutions, thus providing somewhat of a ‘clean slate’ to the IT architecture as a whole.

The platform design will typically include the following key elements:

Directory Service
The design of a suitable directory service to futureproof the business. This may involve the review of SaaS solutions, such as Directory as a Service (DaaS), Identity management as a Service (IDaaS) in addition to a standard on-premises directory offerings.

Applications
A suitable messaging platform such as Exchange Online or Exchange on Premises will also need to be selected, along with an accompanying design. If a SaaS solution is chosen for email, this will also need to be designed to incorporate the necessary changes for the new business to operate collectively.

Continuity

A key area often overlooked during a transition of this type is the continuing business operations, or co-existence. The duration of this phase will be dependent on various business drivers such as:

  • The number of users and supporting objects to be transitioned
  • The technical complexity of the transition process
  • Contractual deadlines
  • Logistical challenges

However, regardless of this timeframe, co-existence between transitioned and non-transitioned users is key for business operations continuity.

Co-existence of areas such as mail flow, free/busy information and mailbox delegation, is a key element in the design process, to ensure the correct solution is identified early in the project and implemented correctly to ensure minimal user impact.

How can Silversands help?

 

Silversands has fifteen years of in-house experience within this area alone and can provide this wealth of experience to customers, reducing risk to the business and ensuring that timescales are achievable.

As a Quest Premier Partner, Silversands has been utilising the Quest Tools for many years to assist its customers in moving between Active Directory forests and Exchange Organisations.

The Quest Toolset has been identified as the most seamless way to migrate resources between forests whilst also reducing the chances of migration failures and reducing time spent migrating all the data, thereby reducing costs.

Useful Links.

Quest. Microsoft Platform Management.

Company Mergers. Creating a Smooth Transition. Blog Post.

Identity in a Cloud of diversity. Blog Post.

If you would like more information on any of the issues raised in this blog post, please contact us on the form below.

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