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A Story of Owning Change


An educational move to Microsoft 365


accounts migrated


of email data migrated


in monthly savings achieved

a hallway of lockers


Our client is a major national research institution consistently ranked among the nation’s best universities by Forbes Magazine. The termination of their legacy email system threatened to bring student and faculty communications to a standstill.

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Technology abstract

The proposition:Out with the old

Email is the lifeblood of any modern institution’s communications, and our client is no exception. When their email hosting provider announced it was eliminating support for Zimbra—the university’s legacy open source email system—the school needed to act fast. The goal: migrate 60,000 email accounts to a new system within the sunsetting window without disrupting student and faculty communications. We were ready and eager to help them rise to the challenge.

Our proposal:Uniting planning and ingenuity

Our client chose Microsoft 365 for its new email service. Microsoft 365 delivers modern functionality and enhanced connectivity to enrich the way students and faculty communicate. It would also allow the school to take advantage of educational licensing discounts—generating substantial savings.

An email migration of this magnitude required considerable strategic planning. Time and precision would be critical to minimize user disruptions. Working around their academic calendar, we validated 130 migration data points and selected two migration engines—the first for large accounts, the second for small. Data extraction was easy, but importing it to the new service was a different story.

When faced with data throttling issues that slowed migration activities to dial-up speeds, we devised a work-around that would make even MacGyver proud. Pairing deep technical know-how with old-fashioned ingenuity, we split accounts into multiple data streams that could be imported simultaneously. No time lost, only efficiencies gained.

In the end, every single account—27TB of email data and 3TB of personal data—was migrated successfully. All email accounts were available to users by 8 a.m. each day during the migration. With no data lost and no disruptions to end users, campus communications ran undisturbed.

Powerful partnership:Invaluable intangibles

Sometimes the things you can’t measure mean the most. Our decade-long relationship with our client played a key role in overcoming unforeseen obstacles and making the system upgrade a success. Constant communication allowed each partner to play to its strengths. We brought delivery methodology and logistics firepower to bear alongside our client's local knowledge and strong internal processes. Teamwork continues to make the dream work.

TEKsystems excels at customer satisfaction and diligently worked to provide the results that we needed.

Director of IT Security and Privacy

woman on a laptop

Real-world Results

Over three months, we moved 27TB of data from our client's legacy email system to Microsoft 365. Not only did we deliver a seamless systems transition, we provided an immediate uplift in students’ and faculty’s ability to work and collaborate. Personal preferences and settings—like color-coded calendars and email categories—available day one. Additionally, the university was able to realize monthly savings of nearly $1.5 million via Microsoft’s educational discounts. Massive migration, schooled.

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