The Royal Marsden Trust | Remote Windows 10 Migration

One of the key challenges The Royal Marsden was facing when COVID-19 struck, along with most other trusts, was the ability to get its staff working from home. The hospital needed to provide a stable, resilient and scalable solution rapidly.

With around 800 clinical trials running at any one time, The Royal Marsden is in a unique position where it is able to offer patients the most advanced cancer treatment in the country and, with this in mind, it was crucial for the hospital to continue seeing and treating the 60,000 patients that use the hospital each year, despite the pandemic.

“COVID-19 provided our Trust with considerable challenges in being able to upgrade a large estate to Windows 10. We needed to ensure that our new technology platform was able to manage multi-form factor end user technology and auto deploy software images for Windows. IOS and Android devices out of the box.

PowerON provided expertise and support, augmenting the capabilities of our in-house team and allowing us to meet the Window 10 upgrade deadline and configure iPads that were integral to the ability to support clinicians and patients in the middle of the pandemic.”

What was the challenge?

The Trust, like many NHS organisations, was facing a huge challenge in meeting the deadline for migrating to Windows 10 before Microsoft’s deadline in January 2021. They needed help to understand how they could drive a successful Windows 10 migration in a short timeframe whilst understanding the management options available using Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager and Intune.

Windows 10 creates not only a big challenge in migrating users and devices, but also in the changes to update management the new OS brings. The team at The Royal Marsden were well aware of this and wanted to make sure they were set up to follow best practice, tailored to their processes and organisation.

There were over 3,000 devices across the estate that needed migrating, so they were looking for a partner who has the experience to help them complete the project successfully. Understanding the challenges and key considerations is vital to make sure the migration runs smoothly, as well as extra support in case anything unexpected came up.

We originally started working with Trust on a Solution Alignment Workshop to kick off the migration to Windows 10, but a new challenge arrived when COVID19 hit the UK – all resources had to be diverted to supporting the Trust during this time.

The order to work remotely put significant pressure on the IT teams who needed to allow secure remote access for staff – DirectAccess was in place but something scalable was required – implementing Always On VPN became a priority.

Remote working had never been required before, so there was an urgent need to get devices out to users as quickly as possible so they could continue their vital work. The need for more modern management capabilities quickly became apparent, which means upgrades were required for Endpoint Configuration Manager, with Autopilot and Intune needed to aid with device deployment.

It was a challenging time for The Royal Marsden; the End of Support deadline for Windows 7 was looming and the migration still needed to be deployed, whilst also dramatically scaling and upgrading the remote working capabilities for employees across both sites.

Over 3000 devices required in-place upgrades and a further 1500 devices needed physical replacements, creating added pressure for the IT department.

What was the solution?

Our work with the team at The Royal Marsden meant they were able to quickly facilitate secure remote working and estate-wide migration at a time when NHS resources were being pushed to their limit like never before.

They were able to get AOVPN in place so staff could continue the excellent work they do without interruption and work safely from home where possible during lockdown. Secure remote working is now a permanent option going forwards and the team have peace of mind that everything they do is adhering to NCSC guidelines and best practice.

Alongside coping with the unexpected challenge of a pandemic, the team were able to complete the Windows 7 to 10 migration with support from an experienced partner who could create the solutions needed to get the work done and rollout complete. The team at The Royal Marsden are now able to fully embrace modern management, building the foundations for them to continue taking advantage of new technologies and innovations within healthcare, as well as future proofing their organisation against the unexpected.

They also have ongoing management of Windows 10 set up so their devices will always be up to date and secured to NCSC guidelines, making it easy for them to work to best practice across their IT estate.

“It’s been great to support an organisation that has gone through extremely testing times and managed to achieve the outcome they needed.

It’s taken a lot of grit and determination from The Royal Marsden to get these projects done at a time when IT resources were stretched to their absolute limit.

Setting up secure remote working for over 4,500 users whilst also facilitating a migration to Windows 10 AND laying the foundations for modern management against the backdrop of a pandemic, is a staggering accomplishment.”

What did we do for them?

When the pandemic hit, we had to stop everything and focus on supporting The Royal Marsden Trust in getting their users set up to work from home. We helped to configure and deploy AOVPN to facilitate the immediate need for safe, secure remote access for teams.

We then used Autopilot to image and deploy 1500 new Windows 10 devices to remote workers where needed, leaving 3,000 existing devices on-site and with staff at home that were still running Windows 7.

Our team had to review and perform data analysis on of all the devices within the IT estate to understand of what was needed. The insights gained from this data helped us with application rationalisation and Windows 10 imaging, aiding us make modifications to make sure it fit in with NCSC guidelines.

Time was then spent on migration planning and deployment profiling, operational processes, and process pilots. We performed migration tests on different kinds of hardware and device types to ensure rollout would go smoothly and no preventable errors would occur. Some unexpected challenges and issues were raised during testing which meant we could fix any problems before migration and create robust operational processes.

Once all of this was complete, we then supported production rollout and converted the remaining consultancy time they had contracted with us to enablement support, so they could use our services as and when the need arose.

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