New Asset: New IT System

Implementing an entirely new, greenfield IT infrastructure in the place of your new acquisition’s existing, outdated system can seem like a daunting and complex process. First, there’s the never-ending timescale. There are the intricate project management challenges: inevitable when managing multiple parties and new working relationships. Then there are the technical challenges, which include design, implementation and the safe and secure migration of data from many and varying sources - and all whilst maintaining service availability.

Yet while the pressures may seem insurmountable, these are not reasons to stick with an old, outdated system. As high as the mountain may seem, in the hands of the right workforce, with the right knowledge and the right skills to deliver on time, on budget and the rest, it’s really only a molehill.

Edinburgh Airport (EAL) is one of the busiest, most bustling airports in the UK, with over nine million passengers passing through each year and over three hundred flights in operation every week. When GIP bought the airport from BAA in 2012, they had an almighty task on their hands: to put in place a whole new IT infrastructure as a replacement for the old, operational system. And all with the additional pressure of a particularly tight twelve month timescale.

EAL selected Charteris to design and implement a new SharePoint infrastructure and, following that, to migrate a wealth of applications and data running on the old BAA system: SharePoint 2007. EAL had a strong financial incentive to complete the program on time and even EAL’s Architecture and Investment Manager himself, Kevin Norman, felt the challenge was almost too much. ‘When I arrived,’ he admits, ‘I felt the timescales were too aggressive to complete the separation.’ Yet what others had labeled a three year project, Sword IT Solutions completed in just nine months.

Sword ITS chose to use SharePoint Server 2013 to build the new infrastructure, the initial requirements of which were light on detail and needed a significant amount of design. With a combination of migration and new development, the team transferred to it, with the help of the agentless MetaVis, a variety of applications and data that were previously running on the BAA SharePoint 2007, Lotus Notes and various MS Access systems.

The project was completed on time, on budget and with great success, in spite of the tough time pressures, a complicated programme environment and an unrefined set of requirements. Sword ITS’ agile and flexible approach, with sound decision-making and effective project management, meant that the team delivered without overspending and within nine months. Due to its flexibility, reliability and the fact that it can be easily accessed from anywhere in the world, the SharePoint platform is now the platform of choice for any new application functionality at EAL.

With a good team and using SharePoint technology it is possible to navigate the project management and IT development quagmire to rebuild your systems – and it doesn’t have to take three years, even on a project as complicated as one of the UKs biggest airports. Despite the pressures, it’s worth implementing new technology to replace old, outdated systems, no matter how complex the project may seem.

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