Autodesk enhances Workforce Collaboration by Moving Files to Microsoft Cloud

Faced with the challenge of migrating millions of employee files for more than 12,000 employees to Microsoft OneDrive, global software company Autodesk took a strategic approach to manage the process. After articulating its vision for a new ecosystem, the project team devised a plan to manage expectations, understand employees’ day-to-day needs, and execute effective change management. Working with Microsoft Partner Network member Mover and customer-success service Microsoft FastTrack, Autodesk has now migrated its workforce to OneDrive and is educating employees about garnering optimum value from Microsoft Office 365.

Based in San Rafael, California, Autodesk makes software for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and entertainment industries. Customers use its products to create everything from buildings and bridges to cars, smartphones, and movies. “We’re more than a CAD company,” says Prakash Kota, Chief Information Officer at Autodesk.

The company’s goal is to take the complexity out of its design products and tools so that customers can use them from anywhere. “We help people imagine, design, and make a better world. We automate our customers’ design and make processes, so they can realize the Future of Making Things—which enables them to do more, better, with less negative impact on the world. We look to give that same kind of experience to our workforce,” Kota continues.

The journey to OneDrive

Until recently, Autodesk employees used a competitive third-party solution for file sharing and cloud storage.

The company was already using Microsoft Office 365 for email and other Office apps. To further benefit from its Office 365 subscription, Autodesk decided to migrate all employees to Microsoft OneDrive for Business Online for cloud storage and file sharing. “With OneDrive, employees can access their files and data from anywhere, anytime, and on any device. We made the move to OneDrive to truly maximize the benefits and value of the Office 365 platform,” says Justin Brown, Senior Service Manager for Office 365 and OneDrive at Autodesk.

Even with the potential benefits of migration, the nearly 189 terabytes of data created a daunting challenge for the migration team.

To ensure workers didn’t lose productivity throughout this transition, Autodesk designed a strategic approach to deploying OneDrive. They assembled a multidisciplinary team to map the migration and provide a smooth transition. “We created profiles of Autodesk workers based on how they used the current storage solution and how to transition them, which helped us identify and mitigate potential issues,” says Brown.

“Having all of your content data in one environment, one ecosystem, allows for a lot of synergies, security, application integration, continuity, and user account provisioning and permission controls,” adds Brown.

Kota says, “OneDrive provides our workforce one convenient platform for easy access to their files and real-time collaboration from anywhere and any device.”

A prime mover of change management

Autodesk leveraged Mover, a cloud migration specialist, to facilitate this migration from its existing cloud storage to OneDrive. “Mover was well-informed, and its solution broke through a lot of preconceived transfer speed issues. They came to the table providing input, guidance, and feedback about change management,” says Brown.

Modern approvals in Office 365 with Power Automate and Microsoft Teams
Autodesk had aggressive goals, and the primary one was to migrate employee files without disruption and provide a seamless experience to their end users. Working with Mover and the customer-success service Microsoft FastTrack helped the Autodesk team execute a smooth transition. The team also conducted white glove working sessions for Autodesk end-users. “The themes we covered were the features and benefits of OneDrive with Office 365 to support their business scenarios,” says Brown.

The benefits of simplicity and security

When all was said and done, the migration was a success. “The entire workforce of Autodesk is using OneDrive now,” says Kota. “We’ve moved everybody. The whole migration was seamless. The companywide migration to OneDrive increases collaboration and productivity in direct support of our corporate digitization strategy, which is to create a frictionless experience for our customers, partners, and employees. This creates an attractive work environment for a new generation of workers. Our workforce is close to 12,800 (which includes globally dispersed Autodesk employees and third-party contractors across the US, EMEA, and Asia), all using OneDrive to collaborate day in, day out.”

Scott Buck, Human Resources Business Partner for IT at Autodesk, already realizes the value of the transition. “We were heavily embedded in the third-party solution we used previously—all of our processes, important documents, and templates were there,” he says. “In the beginning, we were concerned regarding the change, but after the migration, we realized OneDrive is a really simple tool to use with easy sharing experience. I think one of the big advantages that I see in OneDrive is the ability to essentially collaborate on a document in real-time.”

As a global company, Autodesk needs to comply with country-based regulations that affect operations in more than 100 locations worldwide. Migrating to OneDrive helps them meet the required compliance standards and gain data transparency. “We make sure any technology we pick meets our security requirements,” says Kota. “Our goal is to take security and compliance to the next level.”

Kota also adds that using global solutions like OneDrive with Office 365 makes management easier for administrators in comparison to a solution hosted at different locations.

Kota credits the intense planning and change management process for the success of the project. “It was important to have a strategic plan of action and deep understanding of the different profiles and use cases, so work wouldn’t get disrupted. You need to set expectations and bring the end users along the journey and help them onboard,” he says.

“Overall, it’s been a big success,” Brown agrees. “We migrated everybody. Now, it will be important for us to continue to drive more adoption and make sure people understand the value they can get from OneDrive and Office 365.”

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