DSIT reveals £1m post-DCMS roadmap to move users’ IT from Google to Microsoft

Another department plans to switch software vendors as contract with consultancy comes into effect today and covers migration of 1,800 email inboxes and hundreds of personal and shared storage drives

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has revealed plans to move its IT systems from the Google platforms used in its former guise into a Microsoft environment – becoming the second major department in a matter of months to make such a switch.

DSIT came into being earlier this year as part of major shake-up in which boundaries were redrawn and responsibilities reassigned so as to create four new departments, and replace three existing ones.

The new-look science and tech department brings together elements formerly housed in the Department for Business, Energy and Industriual Strategy and, chiefly the ‘digital’ elements that comprised more than half of the operations of the then Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Freshly published commercial documents reveal that, over the next few months, data and systems from the former DCMS will be moved into new DSIT-managed infrastructure. The migration will also involve switching from Google platforms to a Microsoft 365 environment.

This mimics similar work currently taking place at the Cabinet Office, which revealed last year that it was calling time on its long-term use of Google tools and adopting Microsoft in order to “enable better interoperability” with the rest of government.

To support DSIT in doing the same, a contract with digital consultancy Avanade comes into effect today. The deal – which runs until 31 March 2023 and is valued at almost £950,000 plus VAT – is between the company and another new Whitehall entity created earlier this year: the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

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This is because “DSIT is taking over former BEIS tenancy which it shares with DESNZ”, the contract reveals. This means that no Microsoft licensing costs are attached to the project – only the cost of delivering the migration.

The contract adds that the switchover process will encompass the Google Mail inboxes and personal storage drives of more than 1,8000 employees, as well 155 shared Google drives housing up to 4.5TB of data each. All of these will soon be moved into a Microsoft equivalent system.

Preparatory work will take place between now and the first week of November, after which will begin the process of migrating “live data”. This is due to be completed by 16 February 2024 and will be followed by a month-long exercise to migrate archived data to M365.

The final days of March 2024 will be dedicated to “verification, tooling decommissioning and project close”, with work scheduled to formally conclude on 29 March – although Avanade will remain under contract for a further year.

“The scope of this activity is a migration service to manage the migration of core ‘office productivity’ data, both user scoped and shared data, from DCMS’s environment to DSIT’s,” the contract says. “This includes, but is not limited to, emails and documents, as well as legacy departmental record archives. It involves moving data between DCMS’s Google Workspace and DSIT’s Microsoft 365 environments, as well as potentially between Microsoft 365 [and other] Microsoft 365 environments.”

The large majority of the cost of the contract – £920,500 – will be spent on delivery costs, with the supplier to provide engineers, projects managers and consultants delivering a cumulative total of 599 days of work at daily rates ranging from £950 to £2,200.

An additional £27,630 will be spent on technology from cloud migration software specialist BitTitan.

Sam Trendall

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