Česká spořitelna: Migration to Microsoft 365 from Google Workspace

Česká spořitelna: Migration to Microsoft 365 from Google Workspace

By managing the Microsoft 365 migration project we helped 13,000 Česká spořitelna employees to open a new chapter of cooperation


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millions of emails, events and files


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100 %

users with full history transferred

Migrating from Google Worskspace to Microsoft 365 is not rocket science. But when you consider the size of the company, the complexity of its processes and the motives that drive change, it can leave your throat dry. Managing a project for Česká spořitelna was not just about meeting customer expectations. We wanted to literally “prepare him for life” in the new world.

“The transition from Google to Microsoft was a bank-wide project of the highest priority for Česká spořitelna a.s., which was completed in full within the deadline. One of the greatest added values of ORBIT was the ability to respond to changes and challenges that arose during the project.””

Miroslav Lhotský, COE integration and internal services lead, Česká spořitelna

Migrace České spořitelny do Microsoft 365 | ORBIT

In the beginning...

…was the word. The word was from Google, and the word was G Suite. For seven years Česká spořitelna used Google Workspace as its main collaboration tool. For seven years, nearly 13,000 employees at headquarters and 415 branches have been accustomed to the (web-based) applications Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar and Google Docs.

In parallel, however, the branch network was generating all client documentation in Office 365 formats, and as many as 1,500 employees had already migrated to Microsoft 365 for Dynamics 365. This is the standard working environment of the parent group Erste Group.

Characteristic situations before the start of the project

Complex work with documents

Users collaborating on a document are unclear about where the document is – whether it’s on a personal Google Drive, a shared drive, or a local computer drive. If a user uploads a document “in Microsoft format” to Google Drive, it may be reformatted when converted to Google Sheets.

If collaborating users do not share a common drive, they must send the document as an email attachment (or even through a web repository), creating unnecessary copies and the risk of misunderstandings and leaks of sensitive data.

CS staff would welcome a simpler and clearer document management system than the Google Drive shared drive (currently overwhelmed with unnecessary or duplicated documents that are difficult to search), and they would like to maintain collaboration tools.

Impractical scheduling of meetings

If a CS employee needs to meet with business partners, it is not easy to book a meeting room. Some meeting rooms are excluded from the booking system, so booking is done in other ways (e.g. using Google Sheets or plain paper). It is also often the case that reserved rooms end up unused.

CS staff would appreciate a uniform and clear meeting room booking system linked to a personal calendar.

Diverse communication channels

CS staff need to communicate with many colleagues and partners. However, in addition to the bank’s official channels, users have become accustomed to using third-party tools (Whatsapp, Messenger, etc.). Searching for information and files in such a system is lengthy and often unsuccessful (e.g. in Google Hangouts).

Users would welcome a unified and clear communication platform including chat, video and document sharing.

It was obvious that the situation would not improve in the foreseeable future. The company’s management therefore decided to unify the work environment and completely switch to Microsoft 365 (M365).

Goals of migration to Microsoft 365

Migrating from G Suite to M365 is not just an infrastructure project. It is a cultural project, with an impact on the whole bank, on every employee. And therefore, we must try to win each individual over to the planned change.

The bank itself will not stop during the project – not even during the hot migration phase. Every day there are new emails, new appointments, new files that must not be lost. Within G Suite alone, the migration included 277 million emails, 28 million calendar events and 8 million files.

AUTOCONT (in charge of adoption and collaboration on the communication campaign), Cleverlance (web transfer) and GreyCorbel (migration design and development of migration tools) worked with us as partners.

Our task, among others. was to take on the role of integrator, coordinating all the participants in the project.

The GO365 project could start in November 2020. In this article, we will tell you what the 15-month odyssey entailed, what we learned and the results.


Phases of the Microsoft 365 migration project at Česká spořitelna | ORBIT

GO365 project timeline

Business assessment (Phase 1: December 2020 to January 2021)

We didn’t come to build on a greenfield site. So before we start rebuilding, we need to find out

  • that the cooperation procedures in the CS worked well,
  • which Google Workspace tools they were satisfied with,
  • what workers need to improve.


We therefore started the GO365 project with an intensive investigation of many of the bank’s employees – across departments and different levels of management. The success of the migration to Microsoft 365 depended on the satisfaction of CS employees with the resulting change.


“It turned out that the most interesting thing about Česká spořitelna is the empowerment that permeates the bank absolutely everywhere. You don’t have to be a top manager to be able to set goals, make decisions, take responsibility and know what needs to change to make the bank work even better.”

Tomáš Roubíček, Change Manager GO365, ORBIT

Based on 68 guided interviews and an understanding of business needs, the most significant benefits of the planned change will be:

  • Outlook as an essential tool for communication, calendar and contact management and room booking,
  • MS Teams as a unified communication platform,
  • one format of documents stored on a shared drive with a classic directory structure
  • and Office 365 desktop apps with advanced features.

Implementation of the M365 environment (Phase 2: February-April 2021)

The implementation process involved purchasing licenses, installing applications and certificates, numerous registrations, and the tedious work of setting up security. It was mostly a routine phase that we do not need to dwell on. It started to rain only in the next one.

Migration to Microsoft 365 (Phases 3-6: May-October 2021)

We have divided the main migration phase of the project into four packs:


Pack migration in Česká spořitelna | ORBIT

GO365 project phases

Pack 1: emails and calendar

After the pilot migrations came the first sharp migration weekend. We were about to move 277 million emails, 28 million calendar events and 40 million shared mailbox items from Gmail to Outlook.

The result? After 40 hours of concentrated work by a team of 78 people (and an unexpected plot twist starring New Zealand – see box), 97.5% of users had all their history downloaded (the rest followed afterwards).

The main change (which users often don’t even notice) was a new way of sorting mail – instead of labeling, emails are now sorted into folders.

30 hours instead of 10 minutes

Each newly established mailbox had regional settings in English. Around Friday 16. We have therefore started changing the regional settings to Czech on all 13,000 mailboxes.

If you run an operation that lasts only a few milliseconds thirteen thousand times, you expect it to be done in ten minutes. It’s just that maintenance, backup or deployment of new versions of the M365 takes place in the early hours of Oceania – up to a few hours at the moment.

First the hotline in Canada hung up on us.

Around 8 p.m. we opened an incident on Microsoft Category A.

Support from India contacted us around nine o’clock and relieved us with about five operators. Around midnight we sent most of the team to sleep (except four endurance riders).

Between 3am and 4am we managed to change the regional settings for 12(!) mailboxes.

At 7 o’clock the whole team was back in the office and tensely watched the change of settings all day. We arrived on Saturday at 10 p.m. – after 30 hours.

Pack 2: Hangout & File Cleanup

How many conversations will 13,000 users produce in seven years? In the case of the CS division, a respectable 84 million. And every single one of them went from Hangouts to Teams. While on the original platform users were quite busy searching for information, the structured Teams environment is much more user-friendly in this respect.

As the 3rd approached. pack and with it the key migration (moving) of files, our communication with the bank was gaining momentum.

What does packing entail?

When you move, the first thing you do is… – packing, exactly. You usually follow a few rules:

• You only pack what makes sense to move, the rest you throw away.

• Pack things in boxes so that they don’t get damaged.

• You describe the boxes and organise the move so that the boxes end up at the right address and in the right rooms.


You don’t want to be looking for clothes in a box of (broken) dishes.

We used the word cleanup to communicate the packing, because the files on private and Google drives were… in short, a mess. A mess that stemmed from Google’s very flexible file storage principle.

Until now, users could create a space where they could share files with each other and the team virtually anywhere. Google labels these files, and each file can have multiple labels. Some can also have the meaning of directory/folder, so that one file “lies” in multiple places at the same time.

Isn’t it confusing? Write that down.


Changing the approach to migration at Česká spořitelna | ORBIT

File handling plans – G Suite vs. O365


Custom-made tools helped us a lot with the preparation and implementation of the move:

  • Thanks to the Tracker app, we were able to see if the files were still in their original location or if the owner had already moved them to a location suitable for migration.
  • The Mapper tool helped users “order” where to move files from for them, and then confirmed the resulting destination.


Then there was the Scanner, the Locker, the Translator and the Spammer, which we’ll get to in a moment.


Jiří Doskočil, Česká spořitelna | ORBIT

“Thanks to the migration team, we successfully navigated through all the pitfalls. This bunch knows how to create a pleasant working atmosphere and make the almost impossible happen. Together we are starting another migration project, this time within M365. Maybe some other time.”

Jiří Doskočil, administrator and system engineer of the GO365 project, Česká spořitelna

Pack 3: Google files

Technologically, the biggest challenge of the GO365 project was to convert the addressless structure of 8 million files from Google Drive and Shared Drives (with many labels) into a hierarchical structure of Teams and drives on SharePoint and OneDrive.

How is the migration tool supposed to know who owns a particular file? Which place should he migrate it to? Should he make as many copies as there are labels?

Useful tools in action again

To simplify, think of file migration as moving books from a child’s bookshelf. If we thoughtlessly pack them in a box, which we label with the word BOOKS (they are books, after all), the contents of the box may end up in a new bookcase in the living room, where we don’t want them, and on the contrary there is a desperate search for them in the children’s room on the first evening.

That’s why our tools came up again:

• The question of file ownership was solved by the Scanner tool. He found the main owner of the file, to whose repository the file then went (i.e. to the right shelf in the children’s library).

• What happened when a user clicked on a link to an already migrated file in an older email? The Translator tool was then activated, redirecting the user from the original Google Workplace environment to the same file in the new M365 environment.

• The Locker tool locked each migrated file and notified the user that it was about to open the migrated file. We took advantage of the synergy with the Translator and directly showed where the searched file is located.

• In the backup we had a tool called Spammer, which… It doesn’t really matter, we didn’t have to use it after all 😉

Pack 3 was implemented in seven separate weekly waves. It’s like we’re migrating a year of the bank’s life every week. In the end, only 0.1% of the original files were not migrated. The remaining millions of files have successfully settled into their new address in M365 as expected.


“It was already clear to me during the analysis that changing the platform would not be easy and that we would have to do our best to guide Česká spořitelna through this change. In the end, we overcame all the difficult moments together and were together until the successful end of the project.”

Martin Svojtka, Delivery manager of the GO365 project, ORBIT

Pack 4: other applications, scripts and identity deletion

We concluded the migration phase of the GO365 project by cancelling the Google Workspace environment:

  • 15 430 user identities,
  • 881 shared mailboxes,
  • 3 357 Hangout groups

and on 31. 10. 2021, we have permanently separated CS and Google Workspace.

The emphasis shifted from the technical level of the project to the area of adoption, i.e. online training and intensive communication with all users (under the patronage of AUTOCONT). Overall, the GO365 project included:

  • 900 Digi Guru on board (Digi Guru = CS employee able and willing to help colleagues with adoption),
  • 6 Let’s GO – live broadcasts from the studio for 1000-1500 viewers,
  • 15+ SPOC meetings,
  • 4000 subscribers to the live information broadcast in one day via Teams,
  • 140 online training courses for users,
  • 400+ instructions, procedures, change cards, interactive guides,
  • 2900+ answers to user questions in a moderated group on Teams,
  • 500+ frequently asked questions and answers in the FAQ app.


Live broadcast of Let's GO project GO365 | ORBIT

The first live studio broadcast of Let’s GO was watched by 3,000 users at once.

Babysitting (Phase 7: November 2021 to January 2022)

The closing of the project was in the spirit of promoting the adoption of a new working environment, as mentioned above. We have been dealing with user comments, answering questions, fixing the last flaws.

We also gathered ideas for operational support and finetuning of the M365 environment through a user satisfaction survey. Interesting conclusions emerged:

  • Employees who joined during 2021 are most satisfied with the transition to M365.
  • The least satisfied employees are those who have only worked with Google tools at CS so far.
  • CS head office employees have been using the M365 tools for the longest time and rate them very favourably, which should eventually carry over to the branch network.
  • The greatest user satisfaction is with the Teams app.
  • The least user satisfaction is with the overall friendliness of the M365 environment, with the speed of loading and searching.
Důvody spokojenosti s migrací do Microsoft 365 | ORBIT
Důvody nespokojenosti s migrací do Microsoft 365 | ORBIT

Reasons for user satisfaction/dissatisfaction with migration before project completion

The process of collecting data related to user satisfaction continues after the end of the project.

Hana Trhoňová, Česká spořitelna | ORBIT

“This group brought positive energy, expertise, insight and perspective to the project. ORBIT was able to link technical solutions to people’s needs, so we could explain exactly how to prepare for change in a timely manner.”

Hana Trhoňová, Head of Internal Communications, Česká spořitelna

Lessons learned from the Microsoft 365 migration project

We could not rely on rigid procedures to manage such a large project. Unplanned circumstances and unexpected situations required experience and good judgment on the part of both ORBIT and CS to ensure that the decisions taken did not delay the original plan.

That there was still room for improvement? No doubt:

  • We originally planned to migrate the files in one wave. Unreal. We needed to give people time to clean up and blow it up (also because of the holidays).
  • It’s good to keep in mind that X number of people may change their names during migration. Experimentally verified 🙂
  • Project management does not equal delivery management. Or project management has rules that must be followed, which tends to conflict with the ability to deliver or move forward quickly.
  • Before starting the project, we did not insist on nominating all the necessary competences and roles on the CS side. Because of this inconsistency, we had to work more than requested (especially in the areas of coordination of internal CS teams or testing).
  • Two more words: New Zealand.

How many devices you have is how many times you’re a IT guy.

241 people were directly involved in the GO365 project and ORBIT delivered what it promised:

We delivered the project completed on the originally planned date ✔

We designed the security architecture of the M365 environment ✔

We have identified the future competencies of CS employees in the area of operations & governance ✔

We prepared and submitted a compliance study to the CNB ✔

We helped CS set a new culture of collaboration in line with the needs of the workforce ✔

We have arranged an alliance of four main suppliers and a number of subcontractors ✔

GO365 was a large project with high complexity and a large multi-level project team. ORBIT fulfilled the demanding expectations in all its roles, its people knew how to do it. We’ve always been able to come to an agreement, and what we agreed was valid. I also appreciate the reliability and human approach.”

Petr Stejskal, Project Manager GO365, Česká spořitelna

Česká spořitelna: Migrace do Microsoft 365 | ORBIT

What’s next for us? We are not absolving ourselves of responsibility. Follow-up activities, several ongoing line projects and continuous monitoring of user suggestions keep us on our toes to ensure that the Microsoft 365 environment helps Česká spořitelna achieve its business goals.



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