Migrating exotic heritage applications

vmware Windows

From dendrochronology and archaeology to Windows 10 and VMWare

At the Agency for Cultural Heritage of the Netherlands (Rijksdienst voor Cultureel Erfgoed) we’re helping in migrating their digital workplace. Currently it’s being hosted by a commercial third party; we’re bringing it to an internally managed ITSM workplace at the Ministry of Education (OCW). Basically, we’re moving them from Windows 7 to Windows 10 with some MS Azure Active Directory, VMWare, and Thin-apps.

The challenge

Although a workplace migration might look like a routine affair, it isn’t just from one technology platform to the other. The digital workplace service is transferred from a commercial third-party provider to an in-house agency (DUO) at OCW causing a redesign of all the involved parameters: service level agreements, escalation protocols, et cetera – and some change management that comes along.

Moreover, this is a big, varied applications landscape that had been neglected for quite some time. “The experts that work here – archaeologists, biologists and other types of scientist – don’t make applications health their prime concern. There was a lot I could personally do to help here: we re-organised it and we created a baseline to keep it structured in future.”, explains LINKIT project management specialist Wessel de Zwart.

The relatively large amount of applications at this organisation – around 250 – makes this migration a pretty big challenge. Wessel: “Besides the financial, DMS and HRM applications we also encountered exotic ones like ‘dendrochronology (tree ring research) software’, ‘data management for maritime and inter-tidal archaeology’, ‘software used for microanalysis for the modern electron microscopy lab’ and so on. Really nifty stuff, and pretty niche.”

The LINKIT solution

In this particular project LINKIT’s specialist Wessel de Zwart is in charge in mapping the legacy applications landscape. To make sure the applications function properly within the new application environment, managed by DUO, testing an important aspect of this project. Ruben van der Vloot, test consultant at Bartosz, is a member of the project team. He ensures applications are being tested with the key-users in the new environment.

The project at Agency for Cultural Heritage of the Netherlands a good example of LINKIT’s partnership with several specialists. DiVetro is an expert in information analysis, sourcing and management issues and project management. Bartosz is responsible for testing and test management. LINKIT is the main contractor and advises on system development and technical governance issues.

How RCE benefits

“So far we’ve already reduced the applications landscape from approximately 250 applications to ‘only’ 100. Around 500 people are affected by the changes in the applications landscape, one with a higher impact than another. We’ve gone live, explaining to all those experts what has changed for them now that their digital workplace is managed internally. Educating an organization on these changes is always fun to do.”

In the final migration phase, there will be a need for several additional experts, like a migration coordinator. This expert will be in charge of the planning, preparation and execution of the migration, as well as maintaining contact with the stakeholders and suppliers. Primarily, the LINKIT consortium (partnership between LINKIT and specialists) will provide these additional required experts from their own IT professionals. In some cases, it might happen that desired expertise is not available within LINKIT and its partners. Due to LINKIT’s ecosystem, RCE won’t experience any issue, since LINKIT will provide a freelance IT professional with the right expertise and experience at governmental organisations. In the end, LINKIT’s key role is to oversee that RCE migrates as smoothly as possible.