Remote Working

Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint Online allow effective and secure location-independent working

The Client

Arecor uses proprietary technology Arestat™ to transform patient care by bringing innovative medicines to market through the enhancement of existing therapies. Arestat™ is a world leading, innovative formulation technology platform which significantly enhances the properties of therapeutic proteins and peptides. Syplex has been supporting Arecor for all their IT needs for over 10 years. During this time, we helped to them move from an on-premise to cloud-first solution, which has better enabled their staff to collaborate and be maximally productive.

The Problem

Arecor had been using on-premise systems which were fit-for-purpose when built, but were shortly to become outdated.

Their main document storage platform (using SharePoint) was hosted on a now End Of Life Server Operating System 2008 R2, and their SharePoint 2010 was soon to become End Of Life as well. Meanwhile, their communication system via Skype For Business which would only run until 2021, provided limited chat and meeting functionality which was not as useful to Arecor’s staff as the features included with the newer alternative, Microsoft Teams.

Together, we determined that the business would be best served by transitioning to Microsoft Teams as their collaboration platform, as well as moving to SharePoint Online through Microsoft 365, which would allow their server to be retired and allow them to store their files in a secure but accessible cloud location. These two solutions also work fantastically together and have provided Arecor with highly flexible capabilities for remote-working when needed!

The Solution

Planning meetings

Syplex and Arecor worked together to establish the best solution and timescale for this cloud project. It was proposed to do this in two stages – first to roll out Microsoft Teams to replace Skype for Business, and then to move the on-premise SharePoint 2010 solution into SharePoint Online.

Teams Rollout

After making sure all the necessary licences were in place, we rolled Teams out first as a chat-only system on a Friday evening, leaving the weekend for Microsoft to update all the meeting invites to the new platform. At this point we also gave some basic user training.

Following this, we completed the Microsoft Teams migration in the Office 365 admin centre, switching from island mode to fully establish Teams as the communication system used by the business. Skype For Business was then disabled for the organisation (used only for a while to access old skype for business meeting invites).

Once Arecor started using Microsoft Teams fully, they were able to create more Teams than we provided in the basic setup, such as one specifically for the Quality team to discuss Quality-related issues and projects.

Migration to SharePoint Online

Once Microsoft Teams was established as the communication tool of the business, it was also possible to move more and more document-sharing and collaboration into the cloud.

To aid in this, we planned to move their on-prem SharePoint 2010 into the cloud using SharePoint Online, and then link the Teams and SharePoint sites together so that users could securely store and share files within Teams which would then be supported in the back end by the excellent security and file storage structure of their SharePoint Online.

To begin with, we worked with Arecor’s Office Management to establish what content needed to be moved and where it should be stored, as well as what data could be archived instead, reducing the accessible data load.

We then set up Arecor’s new SharePoint Hub site with their company branding and preferred structure and security controls. We planned the migration date to be over a weekend when it wouldn’t interrupt anyone at work, and linked the Teams and SharePoint Online so that they could be used together, leveraging the power of OneDrive to sync SharePoint Document libraries back to users computers for ease of use. Then we decommissioned the SharePoint 2010 and 2008R2 server.

The Conclusion

Arecor are now enjoying a smooth, hassle free solution which combines best-in-class communication and collaboration through Microsoft Teams with secure and feature-rich cloud file storing and sharing tool SharePoint Online. They no longer have to deal with upgrading end of life infrastructure for these functions and get the latest features and security patches for the services from Microsoft. Teams and SharePoint are easy to manage all within one portal and the features available allow staff to communicate effectively through voice, video, chat, documents and more, and be productive wherever they are. Through the COVID-19 lockdown and disruption, Arecor have been able to stay well-connected while working remotely.

Maggie McConnell, Executive Assistant

"Syplex has been our trusted IT partner for a number of years.  The work of rolling out Teams and migrating the company to SharePoint Online has been invaluable, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns which has required Arecor employees to work remotely where possible. The Syplex team are extremely professional and a pleasure to work with.  Their expertise has meant that the project was carefully planned and smoothly executed.  The result is our employees are now able to work efficiently, be it in the office or from home."

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