Fewer offices, more efficiency. Migration from Lotus Notes to Microsoft O365 brought Raiffeisenbank a modern way of cooperation
RAIFFEISENBANK & ORBIT
months of the main phase
% reduction of offices
They say habit is an iron shirt. But even they rust over time. And so Raiffeisenbank also decided to abandon the Lotus platform, which had been used for years, but was no longer satisfactory. Why did they subject their 3,500 employees to a major cultural change? And how did the transition to O365 check the tough covid measures?
“Office 365 impacts most infrastructure technologies. Yet the migration project was not ‘merely technical’. Its success was determined, among other things, by ORBIT’s ability to see the whole picture, including its focus on the internal client. The overall solution met our business needs and technical capabilities perfectly.”
Vladimír Matouš, CIO, Raiffeisenbank
THE END OF IMMOBILITY (NOT ONLY DURING LOCKDOWN)
Before the project started, bank employees could only access corporate documents and information via computers on the corporate network – email and mobile calendar were only available to a minority, remote collaboration was impossible. Such a situation did not correspond to the requirements of the modern way of working.
The main objective of the migration to the Microsoft O365 platform was therefore to provide Raiffeisenbank with technologies that will enable employees to collaborate and communicate online regardless of where they work. The necessity of such a requirement was confirmed by the fact that the management of the project itself was eventually carried out remotely via Microsoft Teams due to the pandemic situation.
Raiffeisen Bank International’s cloud strategy envisages that each country within the group will gradually move to a single environment. Each country chooses its own local partner for this change. As far as the Czech Republic is concerned, ORBIT had in this project:
- be responsible for the successful completion of the entire project,
- take on the role of coordinating the activities of all suppliers,
- migrate 3500 users to the O365 group tenant,
- conduct a pilot test with a group of 300 ambassadors.
The transition to O365 was a prerequisite for Raiffeisenbank to start acquisition activities so that the bank could implement its development plans.
A side, not insignificant, effect of the migration to Microsoft O365 was the decision to renovate the company’s unnecessarily large central offices.
FROM BUSINESS ANALYSIS TO MIGRATION TO O365
In January 2020, it broke out. The first step was to prepare a business analysis of the needs of individual user groups. Based on this, we defined specific migration packs in terms of benefits for users.
As Raiffeisenbank is a banking institution, we also had to perform cloud compliance – an analysis of the status of all the necessary requirements for the CNB’s superior authority. The bank delivered the resulting detailed compliance document in the form of a notification to the CNB, which approved it without question in the summer.
At the same time, the team worked as a whole – we did not differentiate between representatives of suppliers, customers or ORBIT. We had to change management four times before the process settled down, but it has borne fruit. In addition, we could rely on “premier support” from local Microsoft (thanks, Ondřej Štefko).
We managed the project using an agile approach, which included continuous delivery of MVP (minimum viable product), i.e. a usable product with the least possible functionality.
In September 2020, the first pilot took place, followed by a sharp migration. We voted for her according to the so-called. packs (migration per pack), to which we have adapted the adoption from the user’s point of view. The different waves of deployment were targeted to user needs and the principle of easy adaptability.
Testing the configuration of O365 services and onsite applications (Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Edge) played a significant role in the smooth running of the project. To do this, we created a test O365 tenant and used Microsoft Azure services to install virtual servers that simulated the company’s production environment in the cloud – including connectivity to O365 services.
Thanks to ORBIT’s experience with infrastructure projects, the IT infrastructure was optimized beyond the migration, which enabled a smooth transition to O365.
“The project team, together with ORBIT, was not afraid to take on the role of integrator and deal with situations that were not directly related to the project. This made the project shorter and the result even better than we dared to ask for at the beginning.”
Petr Štengl, Head of IT Operations, Raiffeisenbank
Results and side effects of migration to O365
All of this took its toll: we lost a significant part of the multi-day ORBIT teambuilding that hit between lockdowns, and at the same time into the hot phase of migration. We did go to the venue, but we only came into contact with our jubilant colleagues during sporadic trips to eat or sleep. Anything for the client 🙂
However, by March 2021, we were done. The migration from the Lotus platform to O365 resulted in a significant change in the work culture at Raiffeisenbank:
- Employees can now work from home and have a better work-life balance.
- Internal information sharing has been streamlined.
- Documents are subject to different levels of security (public, internal, top secret).
- Simplified access to cloud resources (previously comprised of several products, now on one platform).
- During the covid-19 pandemic, collaboration through Microsoft Teams was successful, resulting in financial savings on travel costs.
Thanks to the e-discovery tool, Raiffeisenbank also expects easier management of banking compliance. What’s more, the usable area of the central offices has been reduced by around 30% by the renovations.
Although the overall change brought a number of changes to Raiffeisenbank employees, the project received a completely smooth reception. The adoption portal received 23,000 visits during the project and the helpdesk solved a minimum of problems. The thanks and appreciation from CIO of Raiffeisenbank Vladimír Matouš was even more gratifying.
This is a machine translation. Please excuse any possible errors.