Find out Wodonga TAFE streamlined collaboration and increased productivity with a successful file server migration

Critical Needs

  • Migrate 3 TB of data from file servers to Microsoft 365 with full integrity
  • Complete migration within 12 months
  • Establish a centralized collaboration space for all TAFE staff

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Success Highlights

  • Discovered and properly discarded unnecessarily retained PII
  • Preserved full data fidelity and accurately executed planned mapping structure
  • Eliminated dependency on outdated legacy systems
  • Significant cost savings by transitioning from costly information-sharing networks

The migration with AvePoint was one of the smoothest I have ever experienced. I’ve performed dozens of migrations, including record systems, legacy systems, and email file migrations, but this was one of my top three migrations ever. We hit everything exactly as it was set and scoped.

Ben Haslett Business Solutions Team Lead, Wodonga TAFE

The Challenge

With the sudden need for remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Wodonga TAFE – like many organizations – implemented Microsoft Teams without a coordinated migration plan, resulting in inconsistent file structures and limited visibility of what content moved and what was missing. This not only made information architecture challenging but also made it difficult to secure data and prevent data breaches.

Additionally, the institute had a split culture: some teams embraced the migration and collaboration opportunities, while others preferred the legacy file systems. This created silos, hindering communication and collaboration.

To address this, Wodonga needed to formally migrate its file servers to Microsoft Teams, ensuring that only the content not already in Teams was moved from the legacy systems.

The AvePoint Solution

After considering several migration providers, Wodonga chose to work with AvePoint due to their expertise in the Microsoft 365 stack and reputation for having good tools. AvePoint helped the institute’s infrastructure team install Fly Server, AvePoint’s migration tool. The process was “flawless,” according to Ben Haslett, Business Solutions Team Lead, Wodonga TAFE.

Before beginning the migration, the institute used Fly’s free discovery tool to identify relevant content, customizations, and potential risks in source data. The tool helped identify what content was on the legacy file servers and what still needed to be migrated to Teams, revealing that there was significantly less data than initially estimated.

The tool also helped the team make a surprising discovery: “PII,” says Ben. “Stuff that hadn’t been touched for 20 years but kept ‘just in case.’ In the worst-case scenario, we face a data breach, and this sensitive info is exposed. Fortunately, we found it and were able to purge it all and update our processes to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

AvePoint conducted migration workshops with Wodonga to review folder structures and determine the content to move to Teams. These workshops included working line by line with different departments to determine what data should be moved and where it should land in Teams. Ben explains, "This helped users feel like they were part of the process and drove transformation by bringing structure and discipline to the migration process.”

The institute performed a pilot migration to test its migration plan and ensure that everything was working as intended before moving all content to Teams. During a pilot migration, users were asked to go to Teams, locate their files, and get visually familiar with the new system. This step was important to help users get over the familiarity hump of moving from the N drive to Teams.

After making some tweaks to the migration plan based on the pilot’s performance, the institute was ready for the migration. It was completed in four phases, and all content was moved to Teams without any issues or complaints thanks to the thorough preparation and testing.

Ben recognizes the value of partnering with migration experts, saying: “AvePoint provided guidance and weighed in on our plan, recommending certain steps based on their experience with thousands of migrations. When they recommended certain approaches, we knew they had done it a hundred times before and this was the best way to do it. Their expertise helped ensure that our migration was smooth and successful."

Ben sums it up: "The migration with AvePoint was one of the smoothest I have ever experienced. I've performed dozens of migrations, including record systems, legacy systems, and email file migrations, but this was one of my top three migrations ever. We hit everything exactly as it was set and scoped.”

The Bottom Line

Now that Wodonga is fully in the cloud and able to properly leverage collaboration and co-authoring, tasks that previously took a week to complete can now be finished in just a few hours. Additionally, the institute is no longer dependent on a finicky intranet. In the event of network issues, users can continue working in Teams and SharePoint, minimizing downtime.

In October, Microsoft will begin the end of life for Windows Server 2012. Ben says, “Our fix: Turn it off. Now that all our data has been moved to the cloud, we don’t need to launch a stressful project to upgrade them. We don’t have to worry about it at all. That mindset shift is transformative.”

Moving away from legacy file servers with the help of AvePoint's Fly Server was a critical step in Wodonga's digital transformation journey, streamlining collaboration and increasing productivity. While there is still a long way to go to fully embrace digital transformation, this successful migration has set the foundation for future initiatives that will drive further transformation and innovation.

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