Manifesting mass migration with Nero Blanco

Manifesting mass migration with Nero Blanco

The IT services provider moved Wunderman Thompson to Microsoft Office 365 in just nine weeks

Elly Yates-Roberts |

When Wunderman Thompson realised that a range of tools and platforms was creating a digital divide between its 90 global markets, it knew that something needed to change. 

The global digital agency employs over 20,000 staff, who work within 200 offices worldwide. Until December 2019, each of these markets had been using its own tools and platforms to manage and store its own data. But working across multiple tenants was causing significant challenges for the otherwise unified business. Removing this digital divide would enable all businesses within the group to collaborate effectively – from video conferencing and global online events to day-to-day working. 

Parent company and advertising group WPP decided to consolidate all users into a single tenant within the WPP Cloud by leveraging Microsoft Teams and Office 365. 

Despite being a logical and practical solution, carrying out a digital overhaul in a company of this size was going to be difficult. With tens of thousands of users worldwide, the migration would be complex, involving vast quantities of data and access rights within an extremely tight timescale of nine weeks.  

With over 50 years’ combined experience of tackling complex, large-scale migration projects, Nero Blanco was selected to help Wunderman Thompson migrate its workloads to Office 365. 

“The complexity and sheer number of players involved presented very different challenges within the organisation – but all unanimously agreed with the need for unification,” said Steve Bumba, director of portfolio and solutions at Wunderman Thompson. “As a solutions team, we’re always looking to achieve our goals in the most efficient and logical way. It’s an approach that was very compatible with Nero Blanco.

“We’re highly flexible as a team so, culturally, Nero Blanco was a good fit. It’s common for IT consultants to have a stringent, fixed approach that’s more about their systems and processes than the problem they’re solving for the client. As a smaller business, Nero Blanco was able to offer a level of agile flexibility we have never found with a larger organisation.”

Under the guidance of project lead and infrastructure architect Twan van Beers, and using a combination of three software-as-a-service solutions, a transparent, collaborative approach, and creative problem solving, Nero Blanco was able to deliver the project successfully and on time. 

The company carried out planning and discovery processes and pre-migration tasks, and configured BitTitan’s Migration Wiz, as well as SharePoint and Teams migration farm solutions. With all this in place, Nero Blanco was able to migrate 14,750 mailboxes from Microsoft Exchange, 11,720 OneDrive accounts, 165 SharePoint sites and 8,100 Teams channels – comprising 50 terabytes of data that was accessed by the entire user population. 

“The migration was a truly unique project that uncovered undocumented limitations in the software that even the independent software vendors weren’t aware of, and which stretched Nero Blanco’s scripting ability to the limits – but we worked shoulder to shoulder as a team to address issues as they arose, and we learned together as a result,” said Bumba. 

“The sheer size of the project – and the need to achieve the migration within just nine weeks – meant it was necessary to pre-stage. There were lots of moving parts to keep track of and plenty of curve balls along the way but Twan had our back throughout. He tirelessly worked his magic, ensuring everyone was reconciled in the back end, creating high level integration between scripting and the three software solutions, and always ensuring the solutions were acceptable to us as a business. 

“Frankly, if Nero Blanco hadn’t helped us to achieve the migration to a single tenant before the impact of Covid-19, it’s hard to imagine how we would have coped with the challenges of lockdown. Thanks to Nero Blanco, Microsoft Teams did what it was designed to do – it united us as a business and enabled us to power through the pandemic with minimal disruption. For that, I am incredibly grateful.” 

Watch an on-demand webinar of best practices for migrating Microsoft 365 tenants with Nero Blanco and BitTitan.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2021 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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