Capita Workplace Services selects affini for Office 365 migration


Capita is one of the UK’s largest providers of business process management and integrated professional support services, with 62,000 staff based in UK, Europe, South Africa and India.

Capita Workplace Services is the division that provides end to end employment services including recruitment, managed HR, payroll, pension and training services for large organisations. Capita Workplace Services employs around 4,000 people working across fifteen organisations at fifty five sites around the UK, including the BBC, the NHS, local government offices and Carphone Warehouse.

The Challenge

Capita Workplace Service’s messaging system was predominantly based on on-premise Microsoft applications, which have a lifecycle of four to five years. In 2013, Capita Workplace Services recognised that its messaging system needed to be updated and began looking for a replacement. A number of options were investigated, including upgrading existing on-premise applications, or migrating to private or public cloud services.

Capita Workplace Services has grown by acquisition, therefore, with a distributed and expanding workforce, cloud-based services offer multiple benefits, including reduced server, software licencing and support costs, increased scalability and centralised policy management for governance, risk management and compliance. Microsoft Office 365 was selected, to provide Capita Workplace Services with the scalability, redundancy and cost benefits of a cloud-based service.

As an example of the comparative costs of end to end email as a service, Office 365 will cost Capita Workplace Services £4.90 per email address. For any business unit remaining on-premise, email management would cost £25. By moving to a cloud-based messaging service, Capita Workplace Services stands to reduce its IT costs five-fold for email services alone.

To ensure that all fifteen organisations could move to the cloud, Capita Workplace Services selected affini, a trusted UK-based partner that has been connecting technology on behalf of large public and private sector organisations for twenty years, to manage the migration to Office 365 for a pilot group of business units.


At the start of the engagement, affini provided a technology audit and gap analysis which included all of the inter-dependencies of Capita Workplace Services’ existing applications and systems. From this, affini wrote a migration project plan and provided a clear breakdown of costings for 4,000 employees to be seamlessly migrated from on-premise Microsoft applications to using Office 365 cloud-based messaging services.

affini principal consultant, Chris Corker, worked on-site at Capita Workplace Services during the design, testing, and the migration of the pilot group of business units, so that he was able to foresee and advise on any issues with the migration. By liaising with Microsoft and Capita Group IT, on behalf of Capita Workplace Services, affini was able to resolve any system specification queries prior to the migration to Office 365.

“affini helps with identifying, guiding and updating all of the systems to the required level and makes all the relevant system checks with Microsoft to ensure that there are no hidden surprises when businesses are moved over to Office 365,” states Corker. “As an example, it was found that Windows 7 was required in order for Capita Workplace Services to gain the most functionality and consistent performance.”

During the course of the migration project, Microsoft adopted a new wave and released new Office 365 configurations. affini re-analysed Capita Workplace Services’ ICT estate to ensure that its devices and applications would still be able to access Office 365 following Microsoft’s configuration changes.

“As a consultant, affini can ask Microsoft to answer complex questions about inter-dependencies, device specifications and configurations and then take this information back to our customer,” reports Corker.

affini used its in-depth knowledge of the Capita Workplace Services messaging infrastructure to guide the organisation on the required steps to migrate to Office 365 over a specific period. This involved identifying which services were running on Microsoft on-premise, what needed to be replicated, moved or replaced, which devices needed to be patched or reconfigured and developing a migration plan with licencing costs, memory upgrade costs and WLAN upgrade costs.

“When managing a migration, we audit an environment and provide a gap analysis so that our clients know exactly what they need to change within their IT and communications estate to get to Office 365. At Capita Workplace Services we identified which data and applications needed to be moved and when, and checked where systems needed to be reconfigured. After managing a number of projects, we know precisely what’s required to ensure a smooth migration and how much it will cost.” explains Corker.


Following the pilot with affini, one hundred and twenty Capita Workplace Services employees have been successfully migrated to Office 365. During the course of the consultation, affini alerted the organisation to certain infrastructure requirements to enable full migration to the cloud. Capita Workplace Services is working on these infrastructure issues with a third party.

Once the infrastructure has been updated, Capita Workplace Services will be able to complete the full migration to Office 365 at fifty sites, in line with the process outlined by affini during the initial audit, consultation and pilot. Employees at fifteen Capital Workplace Services organisations will then be able to use the cloud-based service for email, Sharepoint, Lync and Yammer.

Many of the questions that were asked of affini during the consultation, audit, design and costing phase at these fifteen organisations are common to all organisations that are considering migrating to Office 365.

These common questions include:

  • We are currently running on-premise infrastructure to support our messaging. How can we reduce opex most effectively?
  • How can we migrate seamlessly to cloud-based systems without breaking existing on-premise systems and avoiding disrupting workflows?
  • How can we minimise the security and continuity risks associated with moving data to the coud?
  • How can we ensure that the cloud service provider that we select will still be around in five to ten years, so that we know our hosted messaging service will be supported?
  • How can we incorporate scalability to support future business requirements, without costs spiralling out of control?

As a result of engaging with the management teams at these fifteen organisations within Capita Workplace Services, affini has developed a Technology Reference Model, which provides a clear, repeatable process that can be successfully implemented to assist all large organisations with their migration to the cloud.