Associated Engineering Manages Projects with Office 365 and Azure AD B2B

The Client

Associated Engineering is a uniquely Canadian and award winning consulting firm providing services in planning, engineering, environmental science, landscape architecture, project management, and asset management. Established in Edmonton more than 70 years ago, today Associated Engineering has around 900 staff in 21 offices across Canada. Projects include planning, studies, assessments, design, construction, training, and operational assistance.

The Challenge

As a consulting company, a large part of Associated Engineering's engineering and environmental consulting services involves working with external parties (clients, contractors, agencies and others). AE cooperates on projects of various sizes and durations. This requires efficient collaboration and communication between teams, which can span many disciplines through the course of a project.

"For just one of our projects, we are responsible for providing 150 people across 15 organizations with a stable, shared online workspace for the next 7 years. If, for any reason, the site fails and causes work stoppage, we incur significant financial penalties. We've partnered with Envision IT and Microsoft's Office 365 to ensure this never happens."

Like many organizations, AE started their SharePoint experience with a pilot project that quickly became production. This became the home to many project sites, including the company's largest ever multi-year construction project, with hundreds of external users. Lacking high availability and disaster recovery, this presented significant risk to the organization.

The Solution

Envision IT was chosen through an RFP process to assist the AE SharePoint Solutions Team in rolling out SharePoint on a broader scale to a production-ready platform. Already an Exchange Online customer, as part of our engagement the decision was made to move to SharePoint Online in Office 365 to provide the high availability and disaster recovery capabilities they needed, rather than investing in on-premises infrastructure.

As part of the engagement Envision IT delivered the following:

  • Vision and Scope that included a discovery workshop for Office 365 to showcase new features and functionality of the cloud offering.
  • Requirements gathering and associated governance plan.
  • Implementation of Envision IT's Extranet User Manager (EUM) to facilitate delegation of the management of their partners' external users through Azure AD B2B (Business to Business). More details are available in the EUM Case Study.
  • Automation of site creation, group creation, and permissions as part of AE's project request form and workflow. A master list in the root site provides one-click secure access to the relevant project sites for external users.
  • Assistance with migration of the existing sites into Office 365 using Sharegate.
  • Investigation of single sign-on for staff to Office 365 through Microsoft AD FS.

Development is continuing on the project, with the ability to choose an AE site template for each project when requesting it, and have the appropriate template applied as part of the provisioning process. This is being done with the Office Dev PnP tools.

The Results

  • High availability and disaster recovery provided by Microsoft and backed by a financial SLA
  • No additional Microsoft subscription costs; already an Office 365 customer
  • Sharegate leveraged for initial Office 365 migration, and for site decommissioning
  • Self-service project site creation and external user invitations, either individually or in bulk
  • Proper governance and controls around sites and permissions