THE CLIENT: The Scottish Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders, known as Sacro, is Scotland’s leading criminal justice charity With just over 200 employees, Sacro provides a number of rehabilitation and supervision services funded by and on behalf of the Scottish Government and a number of Scottish councils. Most of these services are extremely sensitive and information security is a priority for the Edinburgh-headquartered organisation.
THE CHALLENGE FOR THE CLIENT: Many of its staff travel long distances for client contact meetings, but their present infrastructure means they have to return to offices in order to complete paperwork. Sacro wanted to combine mobility with security – by modernising its devices, moving to cloud infrastructure and designing a security posture which should deliver significant flexibility and improvement for their staff. In addition, Sacro wanted to use the information management capabilities of the Microsoft stack to further protect sensitive information held on its clients.
The Challenge for Me
This project was delivered in partnership with CCS Media, Sacro’s appointed technology provider, Capito Ltd, specialists in the deployment of suitably-configured laptops and desktops and my employer, CompanyNet, with CCS Media acting as the prime contractor.
The challenge for me was to work with technical and solution design colleagues to understand Sacro’s requirements and deliver an appropriate O365 tenant design and change process, dovetailing with the provision of devices in order to ensure Sacro took maximum advantage of the functionality they had chosen to invest in.
WHAT DID I DO?: I managed the project to its successful conclusion, helping Sacro understand their challenges, going live within the agreed budget and to the agreed timescale. This involved considerable negotiation within the multi-company project environment, brokering agreements with the client around the phasing of the work to meet changing requirements on their part. CompanyNet’s involvement was time-boxed and limited to a specified time budget – I coordinated the work of three different departments, involving around 6 expert resources, to ensure our effort was delivered within these expectations.
I negotiated and delivered the initial Scope of Work, and a second and third version, all required due to changes in Sacro’s circumstances, successfully operating a change control model across a multi-partner environment.
THE COSTS: This five month advisory, training, configuration and technical consultancy engagement was successfuliy delivered as a project costing less than £500,000.
THE OUTCOMES: We took Sacro through a phased, iterative approach to successfully on-board their staff to using O365 securely, safely and successfully.
What were the lessons learned?
1>If you work with partners to deliver projects, ensure your client knows who is responsible for what! A linear responsibility chart or RACI chart is a must in complex projects. (RACI stands for Responsibile, Accountable, Consulted or Informed). Ensure every line in the project plan is clear as to who’s going it (responsible), who checks it’s been done (Accountable), it’s been done using the proper method (Consulted) and everyone on the project knows what it means, and when it will be completed. (Informed).
2>Situations can change for the organisation which has commissioned the work. Change control is the process of negotiating an alteration to a contract or engagement. A good change control process protects both the client, which may be looking for changes such as a reduction in cost, and the contractor, which is required to alter the scope of its work in response to requests such as discounts. Don’t be scared to be be explicit in your Statement of Work arond what you will and won’t do, and include a strong reference to Change Control Processes. That way, both clients and contractors can be clear about what’s included and what’s not included in the agreed work, and it is then obvious how that work will be altered in the event of a changed circumstance. For instance, when Sacro requested additional technical consultancy support, an agreement could then be reached on a consequent reduction in training support to provide the resource needed for that technical support consultancy.
3>Setting up and administering an Office365 tenancy is complicated. Microsoft’s default settings are often too generous, too open for most organisations when it comes to security and collaboration settings. For instance there are in excess of 100 choices to be made when setting up an Office 365 tenancy. All of these 100 choices have to be bespoke to the organisation – for every organisation will have its own security posture and preferred way of working. It can be a challenge for businesses and other organisations to take the time to understand the implications of each choice.
4>Part of success in a technical change project is undestanding the culture of the organisation or business unit involved. You need to work with the grain of the organsation – not against it. Budget for your discovery processes to take longer than you might expect. This will pay off in longer-term adoption of helpful behaviours by the staff of that organisation, who often think very differently to the managers of that organisation.