DBT signs £1m deal to migrate 2,100 staff from BEIS systems and modernise Microsoft set-up

Department created earlier this year signs one-year contract with supplier that will support project to move employees’ email and cloud storage and bring devices and accounts onto unified organisational infrastructure

Eight months after its establishment, the Department for Business and Trade has signed a £1m contract to support the migration of IT systems and data and modernise its Microsoft estate.

Newly published commercial documents reveal that, on 18 October, DBT entered into a one-year deal with Visionist – a government-focused digital consultancy.

The firm will provide the department with support for migration services for the Outlook and OneDrive accounts for the approximately 2,100 employees that constitute DBT – which contains elements of the former Departments for International Trade, and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The text of the contract – which is valued at £999,650 – reveals that the department requires “delivery of a full transformation journey to/from Office 365… in particular SharePoint Classic to Modern – allowing a smooth [and] seamless transition from old to new”.

The award notice adds that completing this process will “allow ex-BEIS [staff] to fully migrate onto DBT devices and create the final single IT platform approach that is one of the perm sec’s declared objectives”.

The contract outlines that the supplier will be expected to first “identify and batch up users to move” and then “ensure comms to the business units.. [explaining] what they need to do and what checks they need to perform to confirm their expected data has migrated once complete”.

Once email and cloud storage systems have been migrated and fully tested, DBT expects that staff will be able to swiftly thereafter “collect kit with access to their new DBT M365 services and their legacy BEIS data migrated”.

If systems are enabled to keep running around the clock, moving all 2,100 Outlook inboxes is expected to take 112 days.  

“Inbox migration will include contacts, calendars and archive,” the contract said. “It is assumed that deleted items and historical PST files will not be transferred.”

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The document added: “Migration of 2100 OneDrives to destination tenancy, based on the current volumetrics of importing 60GB per day over four machines per operative, will take around 4-5 months depending on the co-ordination with the wider project. The migration assumes that we will be importing to clean inboxes and bringing over calendar and contacts. Some duplication may occur if users have brought over old information manually.”

Once employees are up and running on their new machines, the supplier will work with the business department to “ensure all users have checked and signed off their data within a few days… and ensure users have raised any issues early when they can still be solved… [while] business… [and] the helpdesk [will be brought] up to speed with the migration and ensure they have the documentation they need to support the user”.

Technical experts and consultants supplied by Visionist will cost the business department between £335 and £1,644 per day, depending on seniority and skills.

DBT was one of four new or rebranded departments created by a major machinery-of-government shake-up instigated by prime minister Rishi Sunak earlier this year. Also launched in March were: the Departments for Energy Security and Net Zero; Culture, Media and Sport; and Science, Innovation and Technology.

The latter recently revealed its ow £1m plans to complete its IT migration – which, in the case of DSIT, includes moving its IT systems from the Google platforms used in its former guise into a Microsoft environment.

Sam Trendall

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