City West Water shares its secret to a successful Microsoft 365 upgrade

The Melbourne water and waste management organisation talks about the decisions made to provide a modern workplace to staff and how it had to change plans in the face of COVID-19.

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The secret to the successful roll out of Microsoft 365 (formerly called Office 365) across Melbourne’s City West Water was that the work was done slow and steady. City West Water did not turn on all the features of Microsoft 365 at once but one feature at a time, CIO Jennifer Rebeiro told Computerworld Australia.

First, the Office apps were turned on, followed by Exchange Online, OneDrive, and Teams, and lastly SharePoint Online. “We consciously did a very phased, structured and steady approach rather than ‘Look, today we were going to move from one to the other’,” she said.

Owned by the Victoria government, City West Water provides drinking water, sewerage, trade waste and recycled water services to more than 1.1 million customers in Melbourne’s central, inner and western suburbs. The water retailer employs approximately 450 full-time staff and also works with nearly 200 contractors.

The organisation wanted a modern workplace where staff had the necessary equipment and software to perform their jobs from any location. The planning started at the end of 2018; in early 2019, City West Water launched a request for quote and received a “variety of propositions”, opting for a newly formed Microsoft partner called Arinco.

All the work and deployment was done by City West Water in partnership with Arinco, which also helped the organisation with other decisions such as updating the operating system to Windows 10, which then led to Rebeiro’s deciding that the organisation should move to a mobile approach and give laptops to all its full-time staff.

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