How The Global Fund streamlined its move to the cloud

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Today’s post was written by Paul Tuxford, chief information officer at The Global Fund, a public–private partnership that supports programs in 140 countries to prevent and treat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

the Global Fund streamlined its move to the cloud pro pixThe Global Fund is a public–private partnership mandated by the World Health Organization to finance programs that prevent and treat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria—epidemics that disproportionately affect those in poverty in the developing world. In 2015, the fund raised and invested more than US $4 billion to fight these diseases. It supports programs that treat 8.1 million people for HIV/AIDS and that have helped cut death rates for tuberculosis and malaria by almost half.

But in many of the places we work, we had trouble collaborating and communicating efficiently with our employees, partners and local stakeholders. To modernize our infrastructure and improve remote access to our network resources, we wanted to migrate our email and collaboration environments to Microsoft Office 365.

Reevaluating our approach

We initially produced a project plan that we considered conservative. We thought that if we migrated our mailboxes to Exchange Online one department at a time, we could solve any problems we encountered while they were small. But we ran into challenges when we tried to manage the migration on our own, so we engaged the Microsoft FastTrack Center to help us onboard Office 365. Our assigned FastTrack* team helped us assess our existing infrastructure, identify our problems, refocus our vision for Office 365 and develop a successful rollout. The FastTrack engineers understood our priorities, and they advised us to reconsider our approach.

The FastTrack team showed us that if we just dedicated some extra support resources for the week after the migration, we could move the whole organization in a single day. Plus, they highlighted some potential pitfalls in our original plan: a phased rollout would separate user calendar accounts from each other during the transition, some on-premises and some in the cloud, and people who manage multiple calendars might not have access to all of them. It could have resulted in weeks of missed meetings, double-booked conference calls and probably more than a few frustrated managers and executives.

So we planned ahead, and when the time came, we migrated the whole organization—1,200 mailboxes—to Exchange Online in one day. The temporary help desk we set up spent about a week addressing minor problems here and there, and then we were done.

With the FastTrack Center there to support us when we needed them, we saved weeks on our Office 365 migration. More importantly, we likely avoided a lot of unnecessary user issues—and the costs that would have gone with them.

Staying focused on our mission

Thanks to the quick and successful Exchange Online migration, The Global Fund can manage its entire collaboration environment in the Microsoft cloud, instead of spending time and money on an expensive, complex on-premises infrastructure. When we spend less effort on infrastructure maintenance, it frees up resources to focus on modernizing our business, collaborating more effectively with our employees and partners on the ground, and building new ways to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics.

To learn more about how The Global Fund is using Office 365 to modernize its business, read the full case study.

To learn more about FastTrack, visit FastTrack.microsoft.com and become familiar with what our customer-success service has to offer.

*FastTrack is available to customers with 50 seats and above with eligible plans. Refer to FastTrack Center Benefit for Office 365 for eligibility details.

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