Watkin Jones Case Study

Watkin Jones

Project Type: Array

Sector: Array

Our Customer

Watkin Jones are a leading UK developer of homes for rent with a particular focus on the affordable, co-living, build to rent and student accommodation sectors. Established in 1791, they draw on more than 200 years of experience to create stunning developments that meet the needs of modern living.

In 2010 Watkin Jones established Fresh Student Living, and by the end of 2015 the group had delivered over 28,000 beds across 88 sites in the UK.

Their Challenges

Watkin Jones faced challenges working with their subsidiary company ‘Fresh’. This was caused by each having their own Microsoft Tenants, which led to inefficiencies and communication issues as a result.

Moving Fresh onto the same Tenant as Watkin Jones would be a complex project requiring technical expertise, support and the ability to scale resource accordingly.

Watkin Jones and their subsidiary ‘Fresh’ being on different tenants, as well as their Azure environments being split, caused the following issues:

Challenges

  • SharePoint information was difficult to browse and securely share across the two tenants.
  • Collaboration on Teams between organisations was cumbersome.
  • User management and general Tenant administration was inefficient.
  • Fresh users were not able to make use of the main Watkin Jones domain and vice versa.
  • Difficulties managing resources in virtual environments
  • Problems with integrating the two virtual network infrastructures
  • Challenges managing users
  • Unnecessary duplication of billing
  • Security was difficult to implement due to need to duplicate policies across the two environments.

Our Solution

In order to bring the Fresh Tenant across into the Watkin Jones Tenant environment, it included moving the following:

  • All users on the Fresh tenant
  • Security Groups
  • Exchange
  • SharePoint
  • OneDrive
  • Teams
  • Intune
  • Azure Subscriptions
  • Azure Virtual Desktop environment
  • Azure Virtual Network infrastructure

To ensure this project was completed to the highest of standards, Valto applied our “Five Stage Approach” which we have sculpted over time:

  • Pre-engagement: Valto conducted a series of meetings to understand the client’s high-level requirements and provide guidance as to the most appropriate course of action.
  • Consult: We ran deep-dive workshops to fully understand the low-level requirements and document a plan of action to ensure both successful delivery and adoption. Following the workshop, Valto prepared a report which detailed the specific work required, accompanied by a fixed price for the work.
  • Build: Valto delivered the environment merge, minimising impact on users by carrying out any disruptive work out of hours.
  • Train: Possibly the most essential stage, training ensured both organisations had a full understanding of the solution across all levels of engagement from administrators through champions to end users.
  • Support: Post-migration support ensured that our clients felt confident with the projects delivered. Valto Support handled queries, maximising satisfaction with the end result.

Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans

The service that Valto have provided for Watkin Jones has improved their way of working across their organisation. They can securely use Watkin Jones’ Microsoft 365 and Azure Infrastructure, and this has made their overall architecture more elegant. Valto’s future plans with the client include a review of their Azure Architecture to ensure they have the right sizing and security in place as well as a whole-tenant security review.

Quote From Customer

Working with Valto has been straight forward from the outset, starting from advice regarding how to approach the project, through detailed expert consultancy, excellent communication throughout coordinated by the Valto Project Management team and comprehensive post-project support, all of which has seen this project delivered smoothly with minimal impact on our ongoing operation. – Robert De’Ath –  Group Head of IT, Watkin Jones

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