As one of Australia’s largest specialist trustee firms, Equity Trustees could not afford any downtime or disruption to staff for the next phase in their transition to the cloud. So, they partnered with the Cloud Collective’s cloud experts, Quorum, to develop a migration plan and manage their move from on-premise Exchange to Microsoft 365 for Business.
In less than 8 weeks, more than half of all users were migrated with no complaints. As the remaining users are moved across, Equity Trustees is now planning the next stage of their journey with Cloud Collective partner IComm.
About Equity Trustees
Established in 1888, Equity Trustees has been helping their private and corporate clients grow, manage, and protect their wealth for over 130 years.
As one of Australia’s leading specialist trustee companies, Equity Trustees provides the following services:
- Wills and estate planning
- Executor services and estate administration
- Trustee services
- Wealth management and investments for its private clients
- Philanthropic granting and charitable trust management
- Superannuation trusteeship
- Corporate trustee and responsible entity services
The global company boasts a highly experienced leadership team, and a dedicated staff who operate out of 5 offices in Australia, plus offices in the UK and Ireland.
Equity Trustees Embarks on a Cloud-First Journey
Operating a business successfully for over a century requires a culture of forward thinking and an ability to adapt.
It was this proactive and agile approach that led the company’s internal IT department to develop a progressive IT strategy with a cloud-first commitment.
Akash Mittal, Equity Trustees’ IT Manager, says the decision to transition entirely to cloud would ensure that every application staff members use enables them to be as efficient and effective as possible. In addition, a cloud approach would allow the company to mitigate several significant IT risks.
“It doesn’t make sense for organisations to retain the responsibility for running critical apps on-premise anymore,” says Akash. “You simply don’t want the risk of uptime, unavailability and upgrades. The admin and overheads of that sort of legacy approach is simply unstainable.”
Akash says that working conditions stemming from the COVID-19 lockdown also cemented the value of moving to the cloud due to the ease of remote access.
“When the lockdown hit, we had to scale up our remote working capability almost overnight. And because we still use on-premise systems, there were some limitations for staff in accessing their files and folders.
“Siloed communication tools – such as emails, phone calls, and messaging – also leads to a lack of efficiency in a remote environment. While we were already on our cloud journey when COVID hit, the whole situation just confirmed how important it is.”
Quorum Helps Equity Trustees Transition Staff to Microsoft 365 with No Disruption to Users
Ready to launch their cloud journey in early 2020, Equity Trustees sought guidance from experts.
“Microsoft does really great work in the cloud space, so we knew we wanted to move in that direction,” says Akash. “We have more than 250 staff in Australia and overseas, so we knew it wasn’t going to be straightforward, yet we wanted a very smooth transition. That’s why we engaged Quorum. We had already completed 2 successful projects with their team, and were confident in their ability to deliver.”
Akash explained the scope of works to Quorum’s team, which involved transitioning all staff to Microsoft 365 and setting up the IT and project staff with Microsoft Teams.
“Trust is very important to me because I’m not close to the technical nitty gritty. I have to trust that the experts know what they’re doing, and that’s the sort of comfort I get with the Quorum team.”
“We knew they had the skills and capabilities – from account management to project management, technical expertise and everything in between. I was able to explain my vision, and based on that they helped me put together a project where we could quickly prove value, get business support, and do what we needed to do.”
Navigating a Cloud Transition During COVID-19 Without Any Complaints From Staff
After just 8 weeks, half of the company’s user base had moved to Microsoft 365 – a process that Akash says was extremely delicate due to COVID-19.
“There was a big requirement for the team to make the transition as pain-free as possible. And to have had no complaints from staff was remarkable.”
Akash has now been using Microsoft 365 for over 2 months, and says it’s fantastic.
“In Office 365, I especially like the MyAnalytics tool. It tells me how many meetings I have, how many people I’ve talked to, how many times I was late to a meeting, how much time I’ve lost, and much more. The other day it even asked if I wanted it to schedule a lunch break for me. It’s great because that information gives you the power to evaluate how you work and look for ways to do better.”
“Microsoft 365’s MyAnalytics tool gives you the power to evaluate how you work and look for ways to do better.”
When it comes to risk planning and user experience, Akash says having Microsoft 365 has given them more business confidence.
“From an IT perspective, I also have a small team who spend nearly a full day every week managing the on-premise exchange. With this move, I will be able to re-align their skillsets to something new and exciting that helps us meet our business goals.”
Moving forward, Quorum has introduced Equity Trustees to fellow Cloud Collective partner IComm to assist with other areas of their cloud transition, like enterprise voice.
“Because Quorum is part of the Cloud Collective, we get to have a conversation with experts across the full spectrum. IComm is advising us on the Teams deployment and how to get telephony working so we can roll it out to all users.”
John Filippis, Strategic Engagement Manager at Quorum, says “From our perspective, it was really rewarding to be involved during the envisioning phase. Akash and I had a number of conversations before we put anything in motion, including an ideation workshop which was extremely valuable.
“We really enjoyed working with them in that way to shape the model, which allowed us to deliver it in line with their expectations and with zero negative effects to user experience.”
“Because Quorum is part of the Cloud Collective, we get to have a conversation with experts across the full spectrum.”