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Exchange Online rollout for Siemens Healthineers

Our project team supported Siemens Healthineers AG in outsourcing Microsoft Exchange to the cloud by migrating over 70,00 mailboxes worldwide.

Customer: Siemens Healthineers AG

Siemens Healthineers AG is the parent company of several companies which, as a group, are one of the world’s largest healthcare providers and employ around 53,000 people in more than 70 countries worldwide. It successfully launched on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on March 16, 2018. Its headquarters in Germany are in Erlangen. In fiscal year 2017/18, it generated sales of 13.4 billion euros. Every day, around five million patients worldwide benefit from its innovative products and services in the fields of diagnostic and therapeutic imaging, laboratory diagnostics and molecular medicine, as well as from its digital health services and hospital management offerings.

Initial situation and challenge

“Off to the cloud” – was also the slogan of Siemens Healthineers. One first step was the outsourcing of Microsoft Exchange to the cloud. This involved migrating over 70,000 mailboxes worldwide from Microsoft Exchange On-Premises (original e-mail server) to Microsoft Exchange Online (cloud). Main objective of the project was to provide a “digital workplace” for all employees all around the world to enhance the user experience. Furthermore, the migration to Microsoft Exchange was intended to optimize the ongoing operating costs for licenses and infrastructure.

The advantages of Exchange Online become quickly evident – for example, employees can access their mailboxes while on the road without affecting the company network. The easy management of the own infrastructure facilitates administrators of time-consuming tasks. In addition, MS Exchange Online offers the advantage of a larger Outlook mailbox (100 GB) to the end user and secures besides the end user’s data thanks to multi-factor authentication. The mailbox landscape was remarkably heterogeneous at first, owing to Siemens Healthineers mailboxes located at different infrastructure sites – on-premises on one hand and on Siemens Office 365 tenant (client) on the other hand. The struggle was the migration of these to the Siemens Healthineers Office 365 client. In addition to several restrictions and special planning efforts, one of the biggest challenges was the timely completion of the migration. Any delay would mean exponential costs for the “staging infrastructure”, i.e., for existing leased servers of a third-party data center.

Solution

Right from the start, digatus was able to contribute to the successful finalization of the project within the specified timeframe. The digatus project team supported the transition to Exchange Online and provided the following functions: Rollout Transition Manager Since it was a global transition, it was particularly important to plan carefully being aware of regional and division-specific needs, to communicate the planning to the respective Siemens Healthineers coordinators, and to finally migrate the mailboxes. The emphasis was on not migrating mailboxes with specific characteristics, e.g., with dependencies on other mailboxes, immediately but putting these first on hold ensuring differentiated treatment. Technical Transition Manager Upon the rollout transition manager had prepared the migration of the mailboxes, the technical transition manager planned the gradual migration. Before migrating, a previous check whether the mailboxes met the technical requirements or not was mandatory. Accounts ready for migration require an assignment of an Office 365 license and synchronization in the Azure Active Directory. As soon as described requirements for the technical readiness of the mailboxes were met, the actual migration to Exchange Online could be carried out.
Trouble-free cooperation and cross-functional expertise in the project team are essential for such large-scale projects. The resilience and competence of the digatus colleagues was an important success factor for the implementation of the Exchange Online migration. Peter Doma Head of Modern Workplace, Siemens Healthineers AG
Hypercare Lead The role of the hypercare lead was primarily obligated to ensure the support of the service transition phase by hypercare services including the creation of reports on emerging tickets as well as the function as the main contact person for escalations. Special added value was created by creating Wiki articles and knowledge base articles (e.g., synchronization of e-mail and cell phone, status of the mailbox migration process, troubleshooting after migration), which could afterwards be entrusted to the First Level Support. Project controlling The project controlling verifies the implementation and consistent application of the standardized project management methods throughout the project. For example, agile methods were introduced, monitored, and controlled with the help of innovative applications such as Microsoft Teams and Project. It was besides able to significantly relieve the project management by providing administrative and operational support (e.g., risk management, coordination of project activities, setting up and maintaining the project plan). Likewise, efficient, and effective collaboration could be ensured by promoting exchange, coordination, and motivation to retain project staff.

Customer benefits

The migration to MS Exchange Online was successfully completed within the specified tight timeframe and benefited from a digatus project team, which was able to optimally contribute to the multitude of professional, technical, and methodological requirements. The long-standing cooperation between digatus and Siemens Healthineers qualified the consultants to quickly settle into their roles and into the corporate environment. Despite mentioned difficulties, the high level of mutual trust and the constant work transparency led to success of the project.
Patrick Streit

Patrick Streit
As Managing Director of our Consulting unit, his main focus is on finance, human resources and project management. In addition, he is responsible for key account management for corporate customers and manages the location in Franconia.

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