How Ross Innovative Employment Solutions successfully migrated to Office 365 despite roadblocks

In the workforce development industry, collaboration is critical. To equip job seekers with workforce-ready skills and connect them with the right employers, companies like Ross Innovative Employment Solutions must juggle the demands of the national labor force, job seekers and economic development objectives.

After Ross IES’s holding company was sold, Senior Support IT Specialist Jeff Andresen was tasked with migrating pivotal company information to a new platform. For a company that works closely with Workforce Investment Boards, state and local workforce programs and community organizations, finding a secure solution and cloud partner was a high priority.

The search for an email solution

Before Ross IES’s holding company dissolved, all the companies within it shared one system. When making the transition, Jeff needed to get email up and running for Ross IES’s division comprising about 200 users — and quickly.

Jeff was invested in the Microsoft platform from the start — having previously used Exchange Server 2010 and Active Directory. His former holding company had used Office 365, and Jeff knew other folks who were pleased with the platform as well.

As a one-man IT show, Jeff was also drawn to the administration and reliability that Office 365 affords. For overhead purposes and reliability, having the company’s email server hosted made the most sense, and the flexibility of Office 365 seemed to suit the team better than other platforms.

Overcoming the inevitable migration hurdles with Agile IT

Beyond migrating email and data hosting to Office 365, Ross IES needed the following IT services:

  • Azure portal setup with Active Directory and VPN file/print services
  • Unique file share folder trees configured for secure access
  • Password Sync configured with Active Directory Server and Office 365
  • Phone Conferencing for Skype for Business (Now Microsoft Teams) (PSTN)
  • Hybrid Exchange Server deployment to support the cloud migration

To make matters more complex, Jeff also had to deploy an additional six offices, all while traveling.

Fortunately, Ross IES was referred to the Agile IT team. Through its proven AgileAscend process, Agile IT planned the entire migration, built a functional Office 365 environment, provisioned the Office 365 user accounts, configured the online services for one domain and much more. Agile IT’s hands-on approach to the migration process and ongoing support allowed Jeff to take care of business while seamlessly migrating his company’s sensitive information to the cloud.

“The timing was horrible all around,” Jeff said. “Agile took care of a lot of the stuff in the background. From my point of view, it was awesome.”

Toward the end of the migration, Jeff and his team faced another challenge. As Ross IES onboarded new people, it needed to create new mailboxes for these employees. But due to a mix-up with the revised list of staff, some didn’t get mailboxes set up.

Fortunately, Jeff was able to contact his Agile IT rep who quickly created the mailboxes, which helped ease the onboarding process.

“Tyjon was really helpful with the migration,” Jeff said. “Anything I needed, I just sent him an email or called him, and he jumped right on it.”

Enjoying the benefits of AgileAscend post-migration

Despite the challenges, Agile IT ultimately helped Ross IES:

  • Streamline and consolidate all email and scheduling into a single secure solution.
  • Standardize Office suite versions and remove the burden of manually upgrading.
  • Improve collaboration throughout the organization.
  • Complete the migration to Office 365 with minimal business impact.
  • Leverage the scalability of Microsoft Azure as the business needs change.
  • Gain valuable knowledge and experience from an experienced Azure partner.

As part of the AgileAscend process, Agile IT also mentored the Ross IES migration team every step of the way, from planning to client computer configuration and post-migration support and training.

“If I have anyone who needs anything, I’m definitely going to recommend [Agile IT],”

Jeff said. Now, 100% cloud migrated, Jeff enjoys the management and administrative capabilities of Office 365 and 60-day post-migration support from Agile IT. Being able to go through the web interface and create shared mailboxes has made managing mailboxes much easier. Right now, the Ross IES team is primarily using email but plans to upgrade from E1 to E3 licenses to circumvent license management with Office.

Although the web interface has presented a learning curve for the team, Jeff says he would definitely recommend Office 365 to companies of similar size and the transition has ultimately been worthwhile. For instance, many of the company’s sites don’t have servers — or the sites aren’t hosted on the company’s network. Now, Jeff is working on SharePoint, so the team will soon have one central repository for storing, organizing, sharing and accessing critical company information.

Planning for migration hiccups with Agile IT

Each Office 365 migration will invariably bring its own set of challenges. Although Ross IES encountered some roadblocks along the way, Agile IT’s responsive team was able to quickly navigate these and lead the company through a smooth migration. As a four-time Microsoft Partner of the Year with a 100% client success rate, Agile IT has the experience to lead your Office 365 deployment. Learn how our team can safely migrate your company data, and contact a proven Agile IT representative today!

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