Gold-mining major Gold Fields has turned to information technology solutions provider Integr8 to move 7 000 users across the globe onto a consolidated Microsoft Active Directory and Exchange environment, in one of the most complex coexistence deployments undertaken by a South African company.

Before working with the Integr8 professional services division, Gold Fields was looking for a way to migrate its inter- national operations onto a consolidated system. The company was running Microsoft Exchange 2000, 2003 and 2007 and wanted to migrate to Exchange 2010 to make full use of the many enhanced collabor- ation services the software provides, Integr8 Group joint CEO Robert Sussman says.

Further, Gold Fields management was keen to reduce costs through a common infrastructure. The high availability and integrated archive facilities available on Exchange 2010 would also ensure that Gold Fields was on top of compliance issues, a non-negotiable aspect for a company dealing with multiple stock exchange listing requirements.

“The key challenge was the host of legacy systems that we had to work with. First, we had to set up a parallel environment and migrate all resources onto that, all the while making sure that users could access only their authorised systems. This was achieved using multiple Microsoft applications and Integr8’s back-end automation, allowing us to complete the operation with a small, but effective, team and deliver costs efficiently,” Sussman explains.

Gold Fields operates nine mines in South Africa, Peru, Ghana and Australia and runs about 200 servers and about 280 third-party business applications globally. Management at the company was looking for an information and communication technology (ICT) solution that would allow it to simplify operations, improve cost manage- ment and ensure consistent global connectivity and inform-ation availability.

Sussman says his team’s experience in working with Microsoft products and delivery models, such as the Microsoft Solutions Framework, was a key factor to the success of the project. He also says that taking a long-term view of the client’s needs meant a sensible service delivery.

“The project that we are currently busy with is just one component of the solutions that will be implemented to meet Gold Field’s objectives. We have devised a three-year ICT roadmap that forms part of a global solution. We are not only focusing on the technical aspects but have also put in place an operational structure to support these technologies. We believe that a workable solution is a combination of people, process and technology,” Sussman says.

With this in mind, Integr8 ensured that all Gold Fields users underwent training before they were migrated to the new environ- ment. The migration also allowed the Integr8 team to revise the Gold Fields email policies and permission systems, ensuring increased compliance.

Meanwhile, Gold Fields group information technology operation manager Corrie van Niekerk says that Integr8 understands the business challenges the miner faces and has developed a suitable, workable solution.

“The anticipated return on investment is well on the way to being realised, and it is clear that Integr8 has a good understanding of the Gold Fields organisation. Integr8 has demonstrated its ability to deploy the coexistence required for consolidation over a period, while ensuring reduced impact on the business,” he concludes.

By: Henry Lazenby

10th September 2010