Business Change Case Studies

Data Centre Migration Aligned to the Future of the Railway

Project Overview

Project Overview

A data centre migration is a highly complex, once every 20-year event. Adding to that complexity were parallel data centres supporting critical national infrastructure services with limited windows of downtime and no immediate benefit for users. Our client therefore needed a communications and engagement approach based on a strong narrative that met the needs of their complex stakeholder groups as well as strategically aligning to the future of the railway.

Over a three-year period, Afiniti provided change, engagement and communications expertise for a programme with an intense level of uncertainty, complexity and change. Such uncertainty places a significant responsibility on the role of engagement to enable major programmes to succeed. Our approach was one of co-creation with the technical teams, and the journey wasn’t without challenges; we successfully navigated delivery through a global pandemic, industrial action and a plethora of technical issues resulting in a change rate of 180%.

Our Solution – Joining the dots

Our Solution – Joining the dots

  • Created a clear, compelling narrative outlining the vision and what the data centre migration programme will deliver for colleagues across the network, selling ‘jam tomorrow’ as there were no immediate benefits.
  • Tailored messaging to speak the language of the business while creating the materials, channels and relationships needed to negotiate and lock in migration dates with unprecedented outage times for the business.
  • Built a plan on a page which comprehensively showed different audience groups and bespoke methods, channels and frequency on one page.
  • Completed detailed analysis and data mapping of the impact of each migration based on criticality and risk – pivotal for minimising disruption to mission critical and industry-wide service.
  • Multi-format collateral delivered to engage a diverse set of stakeholders including animation, videos, written content, SharePoint site, templates, infographics and more.
  • Provided platforms for the business to positively challenge the programme such as working groups, town halls, briefings and one to ones.
The Differences We Made – Reducing complexity

The Differences We Made – Reducing complexity

  • Our client had a robust strategy to build awareness and desire and pave the way for locking in dates in partnership with the business.
  • We delivered detailed stakeholder analysis for the 40+ audience groups and 300+ business stakeholders that were pivotal to success.
  • We effectively managed change resistance by anticipating likely resistance, mobilising the right people to manage each instance and aligning with stakeholders’ own goals.
  • Our work resulted in a defined factory process for communications based on analysis and assessment of discrete critical risk-based criteria.
  • The processes and tooling implemented for customers to formally raise queries with the delivery plan governance board saw 108 business queries raised and tracked to closure.
  • A suite of highly acclaimed PowerBI reports enabling stakeholders to have a user friendly ‘shop front’ to the complex migration plan so they can access personalised views.
  • Locked in data centre migration dates and managed resistance for 418 migration events, with a change rate of 180% – in some cases dates changed 10+ times.
  • Implemented a future model of operations that enabled significant financial benefits and delivered operational IT improvements and flexibility.

“I want to acknowledge that through Afiniti, but especially through your efforts, energy, innovation, commitment and hard work, you have made a major contribution to our successful delivery and without your dedication and experience I doubt the programme would have succeeded.

Programme Director
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