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Third sector


To migrate corporate email and shared files to a more resilient and collaborative platform


International roll out of Microsoft Office 365 with SharePoint Online

Key requirements

Reliability. security, consolidation of IT systems and increased backup and storage

With a geographically dispersed network and infrastructure, plus unreliable connectivity, Crisis Action wanted to improve collaboration and reliability within the organisation. Microsoft Office 365 with SharePoint Online was selected and rolled out successfully with the expert help of SystemsUp.


  • Global collaboration
  • Improved reliability and security
  • Consolidation of IT systems
  • Increased backup and storage capacity

The Challenge

Crisis Action works to protect civilians from armed conflicts. It has a presence in many parts of the world but its international offices would suffer from frequent disconnections making it difficult to connect to the main on-premise server back in the London office. This led to highly sensitive files being sent via email and difficulties with managing version control for important documents.

With no internal IT team, SystemsUp was engaged to help Crisis Action migrate its corporate email and shared files to a much more resilient platform in the shape of Microsoft Office 365 incorporating SharePoint Online.

The Approach

By following its assuredDelivery® process, SystemsUp ensured that Crisis Action’s key business requirements were captured before any design work began. These were: easy and reliable access from international locations; better collaboration between geographically dispersed teams; greater management control through document versioning and a reduced email burden.

Once the requirements were understood, a review of the current environment was made. This helped provide an in-depth understanding for Crisis Action. A Discovery Document, a Requirements Document and a High Level Design were produced as well as a comprehensive plan to train the Crisis Action employees to manage and use the new solution.

The Solution

In order to fully facilitate secure, international collaboration across the organisation Crisis Action chose to implement Microsoft Office 365 incorporating the following key services: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Blackberry Business Cloud Services, Lync Online and Skype integration; and OneDrive for Business.

One hundred email users were migrated over one weekend to Office 365. Small SharePoint Online sites were set up to facilitate group training with permissions given to allow them to manage the new environment securely.  Remote training was enabled via WebEx where necessary. SystemsUp worked with Crisis Action’s IT outsource partners to ensure the migration and implementation went smoothly.

The Result

The implementation of Office 365 has allowed Crisis Action employees to share files and collaborate via SharePoint Online. Multiple users are able to work on one document simultaneously. They can synchronise specific folders to their laptops and desktops and edit the file while working offline when there is no Internet connectivity. These changes are then synchronised online once the connection is re-established.

Each subscriber to Office 365 has five licences to install Microsoft Office 2013 on up to five machines. They also get OneDrive for Business which provides them with 1TB of personal storage.

“The decision to move to Office 365 was made so that file sharing and collaboration against our global organisation would be quicker and easier. Users previously had to connect to a server in London which was slow and unreliable. This meant files tended to be saved locally and shared via email with the resultant issues with backing up and version control. This has now stopped and collaboration is much more effective and efficient.”

All emails are hosted via Office 365 which provides them with a 50 GB mailbox. As Office 365 is hosted on Microsoft Infrastructure, Crisis Action has been able to benefit from larger sized mailboxes and seamless access to shared files via SharePoint Online. This has resolved the historic problem of users in global offices having to save files locally. These files were not backed up. Today they are centrally managed and fully protected through Microsoft’s global DC network.

“Systems Up worked hard at ensuring the install and migration went smoothly and overall the project has been a success.