Mid and East Antrim Borough Council (MEA) was formed by the amalgamation of three legacy council areas Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne. Mid and East Antrim is focused on the delivery of quality services to those who live, work, visit and invest in the area. The council consists of approximately 870 staff with 700 being IT users and has a team of 5 dedicated IT staff.
The amalgamation of the three councils lead to the need for a single infrastructure which supported the new structure. Capita Managed IT Solutions implemented an active directory and Office 365 email migration project which was successfully completed in September 2015.
Due to the restructuring of local government and to ensure there was consistency, all councils were required to migrate to a new Active Directory infrastructure. The 3 Councils therefore collaborated on procuring technical services to deliver the implementation of the new Active Directory and migration of all users to Office 365 email service.
MEA required a fully operational service for staff to operate in their day to day roles with minimal disruption across council locations. With a small internal IT team on-site, MEA felt Capita could offer a range of expertise and knowledge to help deliver a flexible, scalable and cost effective IT platform that could meet the evolving needs of the Council in the future.
Capita implemented a completely new Active Directory infrastructure rather than an expansion of, or migration to, any of the existing Active Directory infrastructures in place in the legacy councils. The existing on-premise email systems used by the 3 Councils were migrated to a single instance of Office 365. The solution was designed as simply and effectively as possible, with additional functionality where required to meet the Northern Ireland Councils’ requirements and best practice.
Capita divided the implementation into two discrete projects – Active Directory and Email. In both projects a 5 stage approach was implemented to transition each of the services in the three MEA sites.
The five stage approach included:
implementation and testing – proof of concept
migration to production phase
Discovery phase - In order to reduce business impact and risk as well as speed up the duration process for MEA and understand how their environment worked, Capita ran a series of Active Directory/Exchange health checks, readiness tools and fact finding discoveries. Capita alongside key staff from the Councils also reviewed the business and operational impact the migration process would have.
Design phase - Capita’s Design Phase collated all information from the Discovery Phase and allowed Capita staff to begin building a series of design documents outlining the implementation and migration process. This not only detailed the design steps required but also reflected project deliverables, customer expectations and identified the migration methodologies to be used.
The Proof of Concept phase delivered the solution to the council and migrated a small number of users from various locations and with different usage patterns in order to evaluate the process and system before migrating the bulk of users to the new platform.
The migration to production phase moved the remaining users from the legacy platform to the new one in controlled batches which were agreed in advance with MEA. Co-existing with legacy domains was an essential requirement during this process to ensure users had continuous access to all resources during and after the migration.
Successful and seamless transition to one AD infrastructure
Excellent working relationship with the Capita team
Minimal disruption to MEA staff day to day roles, allowing them to proceed with work and provide continued customer service
Existing on-premise email migrated to Office 365 platform
Shane Moore, Mid East Antrim IT Manager
commented on the project, “I’d personally thank the whole Capita team on their support and assistance in helping us get to where we are today. The staff at Capita were a pleasure to work with, their skills and expertise certainly helped create a smooth email migration transition from each of the three councils involved. MEA staff were able to carry on with their day to day duties with minimal disruption.”