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Microsoft Office 365 expansion for the FCDO

In 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) merged with the Department for International Development (DfID). They become the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The FCDO identified Microsoft Office 365 as its primary platform to accommodate the merger of the two departments. The project required an agile approach to bring about rapid business change.

The FCDO engaged FCDO Services to deliver this critical part of their overall IT merger programme for them.

An agile approach

Our approach to project management helped us to deliver faster, with fewer issues. Instead of focussing everything on a one-off launch at the end of a project, we delivered the work in phases. This enabled us to test and gain feedback at key milestones from stakeholders and end users.

We brought together key colleagues from across the two legacy departments to assess requirements and problem-solve any issues. These stakeholders were key to ensuring the setup of Microsoft (MS) Teams was fit for purpose.

Cross-organisation collaboration

Faced with remote working challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we collaborated virtually using MS Teams and Microsoft Planner to achieve the project goals. It meant we were able to take advantage of the platform the project was set up to introduce, while quickly implementing changes.

We ran frequent cross-organisation ‘stand-ups’ and ‘show and tell’ meetings to facilitate open and productive discussions with FCDO colleagues. This enabled the project team to understand any changes proposed and efficiently face challenges we needed to overcome.

Quick wins

The project has brought video calling, instant messaging and other Microsoft Office applications right up to date, providing a better user experience for FCDO staff. These are tools which are used daily by staff across the organisation.

We migrated users from Skype for Business to MS Teams, and enabled access to it on approved mobile devices. There is now functionality to record and transcribe MS Teams meetings, with updated guidance and training to support users.

Fully embedding MS Teams in the new organisation has allowed more effective collaboration between ex-DfID and ex-FCO colleagues.

One of the key benefits has been the improved experience for external stakeholders and Partners Across Government when accessing the platform.

Project success

In just two months, our project team successfully accelerated the adoption and improved the functionality of Microsoft Teams across both organisations. All this was done while ensuring security and compliance standards were maintained.

The work completed in May 2021, with excellent feedback from our colleagues in the FCDO.

“Moving to a single Office 365 tenant is a key step in enabling the FCDO organisation to work effectively. FCDO Services’ project and delivery capability has been key in achieving that success.”

Deputy Chief Digital Information Officer, FCDO