Digital Transformation – Azured
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“Avengers assemble!”?

There is a commonly held belief in IT that an expert is an expert in everything. That is not the case. Unless you have the right expertise in-house…look elsewhere. Bring in the best that is available (that you can afford, of course!).

✏️ ☁️ Designing a new cloud platform is a tough task that requires considerable expertise, experience and knowledge. Invest in your team and make sure you have the right people around you. Getting this right from the start is far less painful…

👉 We’ve collected our top tips for a successful digital transformation project in to this rather handy, downloadable PDF.

Buying the best – for your business?

Choosing software that supports your business needs might sound pretty obvious when planning a digital transformation project. But the key thing to note is that we’re not suggesting you buy the ‘best’ on the market.

Every business is unique, and just because an application is market-leading doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for you. Identify your requirements, set the criteria – and then decide 🙅‍♂️

🤓 You can read more top things to consider when taking on a digital transformation project, right here.

People before process?

When starting a digital transformation project, it’s easy to forget about everything and everyone else. But you must bring the business with you!

If your users don’t buy in to the change and the reasons for it, you have no chance. Never underestimate the importance of having top down support from your senior leaders. Communication, communication, and communication. And of course, listening too. To senior management, to users, to your part-timers and contract staff… you never really know the true wisdom that lies within your own organisation!

More of our top things to consider when taking on a digital transformation project can be found on this free, downloadable PDF.

Is your IT house in order??

The start of any digital transformation project should be exciting. But it’s really important to get your current IT in to shape first.

As with anything worthy of your time and effort, preparation is key. And that applies to your user management, network, space capacity, perimeters, firewalls and devices.

👉 Here’s our short guide of things to consider before undertaking a digital transformation project:

Digital transformation: a mini guide of things to consider?

Early adopters, those businesses with the foresight to embrace the cloud, are those who are now enjoying the benefits, as the way the world works continues to evolve. But it’s never too late to start.

You can view our full (but mini) guide of things to consider before undertaking a digital transformation project here:

Head in the clouds. Feet on the ground.?

Moving over to the cloud is rarely an easy decision for any business. But in today’s new normal it turns out to be remarkably advantageous.

Having implemented many digital transformation projects, we’ve identified the core elements that must be considered to ensure success and put together a short guide which I hope will show it’s really not as daunting as some make out!

You can view it here:


CASE STUDY: Hyve Group?

No one works in isolation in any business, but in the aptly named Hyve Group plc, a FTSE 250 international trade show organiser, the need to join forces is intrinsic. The company operates a highly collaborative environment sharing ideas and opportunities between teams. With 1,200 workers in 13 countries focused on delivering innovative and dynamic events around the world, its need for a flexible, collaborative IT environment made it a strong candidate for digital transformation.

“Azured deliver more, for less. An environment that is more cost effective – and a service with greater security that is more reliable and easier to manage. Our global team, operating in 13 countries, went home Friday evening and came back Monday morning and everything was in place, ready for us to start working.”

Keith O’Hara, Group Technology and Information Director, Hyve

The challenges of multi-platform identity migration – with unreliable data…

As a consequence of growth through acquisition Hyve’s international footprint was made complex by different IT architectures. They naturally ran multiple applications – some shared, some not – and inevitably maintained multiple identity platforms, with all the complexity that implies for user, device and application identity management.

Hyve approached Azured to lead the project, knowing that it has specific and deep expertise in identity migration – one of the central challenges of the project. Acting as lead architect for the transformation, Azured assembled a team of project specialists whose knowledge and skills are not normally found in-house among client IT departments.

In crafting the solution, the core objective was that everyone on Hyve’s creative teams around the world should be able to use a single sign-on to virtually all the applications they need, from all the devices they use during the transition and after completion.

Given the complexity of the existing state, it would be a tall order for any specialist IT consultancy, but is firmly in the home territory of Azured. The confused state of the identity data made it unfeasible to consolidate into an existing directory services system.

Shaping a seamless single sign-on solution

Azured suggested it would be more favourable to migrate into a new hybrid identity platform (both on-premise and cloud-based). To do so would also be consistent with the planned move to cloud-based infrastructure for applications available across the enterprise.

To manage the migration, Azured would need to analyse the source platforms and remediate its data, removing duplicates (typically multiple identical objects in different identity platforms), cleaning up incorrect entries, deleting obsolete identity objects – for all its people and devices, current and past. It is a challenge that appears more straightforward in the description than in practice, when you bear in mind that each one of Hyve’s people might have more than fifty applications for which her log in needs to work, and consequently multiple objects relating to that identity must be migrated.

The Azured approach is marked by its attention to the device identities as well as the users of those devices. As an object of the user’s identity, everything she uses has identity data that must be recorded and moved into the new platform for it all to work as seamlessly as the brief required, namely, a single sign-on experience to everything: devices, networks, applications, permissions.

To guarantee all would be operating perfectly on the Monday morning after the migration, Azured created a simulated environment in a lab. The team focused on the critical applications first, analysing each device type (laptops and desktops) to understand the relationship between the user and the device, its operating system, and the applications the user needs to access.

Azured used a combination of scripts and software to iteratively interrogate the identity data, remediating it where it was inconsistent with the new platform in a lab simulation. The lab approach refines the migration process by continually analysing devices, applications and identities to arrive at a stable setup.

Streamlined. Secure. Cheaper? Sorry, did you just say, cheaper?

The migration was completed in a year, with the switch over achieving the Azured target of 72 hours downtime over one weekend, with critical systems such as mail and messaging only being off-line for a few hours overnight.

The identities for all Hyve’s people and its devices are in the new identity management system giving them uninterrupted access to all the applications they need. While holding all identity information in the new system Azured was also able, during the transition, to make accessible legacy applications whose server identities still reside in the old system. Azured were able to demonstrate that it was more cost effective to leave some of the legacy applications in the old world – having remediated it, than to migrate them to the new environment, saving Hyve significant sums of money.

The success of the project can be in part attributed to the technical solution, but also to the management of the project team and the relationship between Azured and the Group IT Director at Hyve. Hyve kept Azured operating at arm’s length, allowing the team to analyse, test, simulate and craft the solution to the IT brief, free from outside influence.

The net result for Hyve is not only a more easily managed identity system within a cloud-based IT architecture, but greater flexibility, more security, and ease of use to enable its people to collaborate more effectively between teams and across borders. The control the organisation now has over access and permissions is far greater, giving them a stronger sense of security and reduced risk.

Small steps to digital transformation?

For SMEs thinking about digital transformation, making small changes and taking small steps is a good strategy to take. This approach provides greater control and flexibility…and, well, feels a whole lot less overwhelming, too. As Chris Sims, Managing Director of Commercial and Marketing at BT, puts it “You can avoid developing things your customers don’t want and you’ll find it easier to respond to market changes as they arise“. Wise words, those.

#digitaltransformation #cloud #remoteworking #securenetworks #SME #BT

10 ways to digitally transform your business?

Digital transformation may sound a lot like hard work. And it can be. But it can also solve a whole host of problems for many years to come. The swift move to remote working has highlighted the true value of digital technologies…some businesses have flourished in the new world, but others haven’t fared so well.

Managing Director of Commercial and Marketing at @BT, Chris Sims, believes “there’s never been a better time to start the process of digital transformation”. And we quite agree.

Chris has put together a brilliant post on how to digitally transform your business which is a great starting point for anyone looking to begin their journey…

So, what exactly is DMPO??

Ever wondered just exactly what DMPO means? In our new series of videos, Ask Azured, we answer all those questions about cloud tech that you were too afraid to ask…

This week Dimitrie Sandu, Senior Solutions Engineer at VMware Velocloud, explains the concept of Dynamic Multipath Optimisation…

If you have a question you’d like answered (about SD-WAN, or anything else cloud-related that is) we’d love to hear from you.