Migration project merged DNA and Telenor in a common Microsoft ecosystem

In 2019, the Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor acquired all the shares of the Finnish telecom operator DNA. While DNA’s business operations in Finland continued as before, the information systems of both companies were merged in a common Office 365 environment. Sulava served as a close partner of DNA and Telenor during the migration project.

The primary goal of Telenor and DNA’s tenant-to-tenant migration was to merge both companies’ Microsoft-based information systems and technical environments in a single environment. In this way, the companies could efficiently operate as one and communicate effectively between different business units. Establishing shared communication channels for DNA group, employing approximately 3,000 people, and Telenor, employing approximately 20,000 people, was a priority of the project – the aim was to include everyone in a shared Teams, calendar and email environment.

The objective was to carry out the migration considering efficiency and cost saving goals, but also in a way that would disrupt business and people’s daily work as little as possible.

“In the migration, DNA group and the international company Telenor were merged in the same ecosystem, which significantly improved the collaboration and the overall business operations of our companies”, says Veli-Matti Hautala, Head of Corporate IT at DNA group.

“The first step was all about connecting the companies’ communication channels, which went extremely well. Apart from some small installations done in the mobile terminal equipment, the work was not disrupted in either company”.   

Migration from one ecosystem to another

Both Telenor and DNA were already users of Microsoft Office 365. However, DNA’s subsidiary, DNA Kauppa, had been using the Google G Suite for a long time in their business consisting of 59 shops and 11 call centres. Maintaining and utilising two environments and different communication channels within one company were causing many kinds of challenges. In this sense, there was a clear need for merging the environments.

In the project, DNA’s developing O365 environment was migrated to Telenor’s international O365 environment. At the same time, DNA Kauppa’s Google G Suite users were migrated to the same ecosystem. There are certain aspects that must be considered when migrating from one operating environment to another, especially in terms of access rights, user training and support – even if, in practice, it only means moving from one cloud service to another. For example, finding the equivalent tools for measuring efficiency in the new environment was challenging.

According to Hautala, the project went surprisingly well and there was a clear readiness for change.

“Instead of change resistance, we actually saw commitment to change, which was surprising”.

“Of course, there were some impacts, especially on DNA Kauppa, which went through the biggest change. However, in the end, the migration went very smoothly”, Hautala says.

For the DNA employees, the biggest changes included the deployment of Telenor’s data security practices, which have been received very well.

Sulava’s know-how and tools at the heart of the project

In the migration project, Sulava served as a close partner of DNA and as an architect of the migration plan. Sulava’s experienced consultants drew up a plan of the project phases and their implementation. Together with the Finnish partners, the global partner Telenor participated in setting the common practices for carrying out the migration in the schedule established by Telenor.

“Sulava’s contribution has been invaluable. The consultants participating in the project were extremely professional and had a comprehensive understanding of these matters”.

Hautala continues: “I really appreciate professionals with such a comprehensive understanding of the big picture: if a parameter is changed, they know how it affects other factors and what must be considered. This is not self-evident by any means.

The implementation phase involved only a few mechanical transfers, and Sulava carried out the most challenging operations with the tools and know-how of familiar third-party operators. This kind of migration project involves transferring a lot of small items that are important for their users. With Sulava’s toolbox designed for these kinds of projects, many types of items could be transferred from one environment into another very quickly and easily.

“Neither DNA nor Telenor had previous experience with a tenant-to-tenant migration of this scale. Therefore, Sulava’s strong experience in many similar projects was crucial for succeeding in this project. The collaboration with Sulava was very smooth and professional. We had a continuous and open dialogue, and we faced challenges and solved problems together. I think we wouldn’t have succeeded this well without Sulava’s contribution”, Hautala states.

Quick facts
  • The goal of the migration project was to merge Telenor’s and DNA’s Microsoft-based information systems and technical environments into a single Office 365 environment.
  • The first priority was to establish common communication channels (Teams, calendar and email environment).
  • The objective was to carry out the migration considering efficiency and cost saving goals, but also in a way that would disrupt business and people’s daily work as little as possible.
  • DNA group has approximately 3,000 employees and Telenor more than 20,000.