How Telstra Purple is helping customers in the education sector deliver a digital foundation with Microsoft Azure

Matt Durmanic

Product Owner Principal


Our customer is the executive arm of over 160 primary and secondary schools within Australia.

The customer is executing an ambitious plan to create a single digital ecosystem for all schools and early years centres, fusing world class technology and best practice methodologies to support improved student outcomes. As part of this, the organisation was looking to move core IT services to a secure cloud platform to foster innovation and create a stable foundation for its digital future.

Justifying the need for migration 

The customer called on Telstra Purple’s technical expertise and consulting services to migrate applications from two of their on-premises datacentres to Microsoft Azure. Telstra has worked with the customer on security and mobility work in the past, so this was an expansion of that existing relationship.

The customer needed to simplify the complexity of dealing with more than 160 schools by creating a self-service capability and a repeatable framework, allowing each institution to do things at their own pace. Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 formed an essential part of its ongoing transformation plans. This transformation strategy included the need for a single digital ecosystem for all the customers schools, early years centres, and central and regional offices.

Like many customers, they identified cloud adoption as a high priority. The organisation wanted to use cloud services to reduce cost, optimise processes, build more resilient architectures, and enable greater business efficiency with more agile deployment models. With the potential to drastically improve student and staff services, the customer needed a cloud platform that was recognised and scalable, whilst offering a wealth of innovation.

But they were also faced with the challenge of needing to make the business case for cloud stack up, as the costs of migration can be difficult to justify on paper.

Telstra Purple recognises the need to justify the “returns” of cloud, which is why we offer Business Case and Total Cost of Ownership assessments and use our relationship with the cloud provider to reduce upfront costs.

digital foundation with Microsoft Azure

An innovative solution that ticks every box

Telstra Purple has extensive experience in helping customers on their cloud adoption journeys.

As an Azure Expert Managed Service Provider and holder of the Advanced Specialisation for Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Azure, we have access to the Azure Migration and Modernisation Program (AMMP), which is designed to help organisations accelerate their cloud migration and solve key business challenges.
This relationship means we’re able to significantly reduce the customer cost of establishing an initial cloud footprint, making the investment to migrate to the cloud and modernise workloads more favourable. Working in conjunction with Microsoft, we provided the consultation and guidance for the customer to manage its own migration and install an agile, DevOps type process within their IT team.

Telstra Purple helped the customer assess their existing on-prem servers and applications to identify the most appropriate migration approach for each, establishing a plan for migration execution and a destination environment for migrated workloads, whilst undertaking application migrations using an automation-first approach.

Telstra Purple’s catalogue of intellectual property assets in migrating, designing, and building cloud applications added value and accelerated the migration programme.

The plan included the migration of up to 753 virtual machines, with work set up over 3 phases, including;

  1. Initial set up of the Azure Migration Program project, creation of Azure Landing Zone, configuration of automation pipelines and inclusion of selected migration batches (Up to 200 virtual machines).
  2. Support and knowledge transfer of the pipelines and migration activities to the customers IT team and School Managed Service Providers.
  3. Support services by the Telstra Purple team to the customers IT team for the remaining migration batches (the remaining virtual machines selected for migration and decommissioning).

During the third distinct phase, Telstra Purple moved to a part-time/ad-hoc support arrangement, providing the customer with the flexibility to use our Cloud expert’s time when required as an extension to the customers team.

Positive results and next steps

The customer has modernised and improved digital services delivery and availability for students and staff. The customer delivered tangible benefits from the cloud migration initiative that has led to the entire school system having access to an integrated suite of best-in class learning tools, educational software, storage, communications, collaboration, student management systems and a professional learning and development environment.

Students, teachers, and administration staff also benefit from secure storage with enterprise-grade backup and recovery. By standardising centrally, the customer can drive efficiencies, cost savings and make it easier for schools to provide a great service to students.

The customers cloud ROI was improved by using funding to reduce the upfront investment. This was used to offset the cost of the initial assessment of their servers and applications and identify the most appropriate migration approach through Telstra Purple consulting. The Microsoft AMMP program also helped towards establishing a plan for migration execution, creating a destination environment for migrated workloads, and undertaking application migrations using an automation-first approach.

The project’s legacy is that the customers team can self-service migrate at a pace that suits the organisation. This was achieved by implementing agile processes and a DevOps pipeline, and also leaves them with an architecture allowing business agility and adoption of future innovation in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

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