Collective Insights Helps Major Healthcare Insurer Migrate 50,000 users to Microsoft OneDrive for Business

Mike Stern
January 22, 2024
January 22, 2024
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Collective Insights Helps Major Healthcare Insurer Migrate 50,000 users to Microsoft OneDrive for Business

When a multi-billion dollar member-owned healthcare and insurance company wanted to migrate private and shared drives enterprise-wide to a cloud-based solution, they called on Collective Insights for a nimble, strategic, and streamlined approach to this complex project.


The client’s legacy on-premises solutions for private and shared files hindered collaboration, required ongoing management, had increasing costs of maintaining data centers, and posed potential security risks to the organization. Even with the best legacy technology and security, the reliability and track record that Microsoft had to offer with their cloud services was the right move for their people, their data, and their Information Technology costs. A cloud-based solution would allow the company to benefit from a more sophisticated security architecture, best-in-class data protection, data availability, and managed services to handle server management and maintenance.

But to make the transition, the team at CI would first need to migrate all private drives to the cloud, which would require individual data migrations across all of the company’s owned divisions. The parent company maintained a significant IT infrastructure over multiple states, with private drives for the 50,000 users divided between multiple paths across multiple data centers. We needed to not only coordinate with owners of the data and various divisions, but infrastructure, cloud, networking, change management, training, database architects, and information security teams.

The CI team would have to coordinate across 50,000 employees to determine the amount and type of data for each user, understand network throughput based on the geographic location of the data center, and be mindful of migrating users in similar divisions together. We needed to understand the organizational structure of each group and user impact to determine the best sequencing for migrating about 200 terabytes of data in a timely fashion.

We conducted exercises to scan the data and devise an approach to be as minimally disruptive as possible. The goal was to communicate to a user that they would be migrated on a specific day, and then that morning, they could pick up where they left off the day before, by navigating to a different location. Using the Microsoft OneDrive desktop application, files were able to sync to user computers and virtual machines seamlessly, allowing them to have a traditional experience in File Explorer, or use a modern app or web experience based on their preference. Microsoft’s syncing technology allowed for a seamless experience that worked for everyone.

We separated divisions into two dozen high-level groups across three categories: high, medium and low impact. High-impact groups included customer-facing groups and executive leadership, while medium-impact spanned groups with fiscal-year obligations. Low-impact groups generally included those that didn’t have time-sensitive periods during which migration tasks could pose a disruption. While disruption was practically non-existent, we understand that sometimes a group does not want to be bothered with a migration, so we stayed nimble, and made sure to move files of a group when it was comfortable for them, and prioritized those who managed people over their direct reports to ensure all users were well informed about the migration.

“When you are migrating tens of thousands of users, you need to understand all aspects of how what you are doing will affect the end user.  We executed a solid communication plan, paired with training documentation, which resulted in very minimal post-migration support for users and very minimal tickets being placed.”

– Hallie Lieberman, Delivery Manager  

The cloud migration also represented a shift in workflow for employees, so the client needed a comprehensive change management strategy to communicate the impending transformation to stakeholders, set expectations and prepare personnel to adopt the new solution successfully. We crafted a schedule of communications and worked with internal groups on training resources, providing employees with the resources they needed for a successful onboarding.

Finally, the client was looking for a partner who understood their configuration needs and could help them with the technical nuances of migrating files to Microsoft 365, and are dynamic experts in all Microsoft solutions. We know our clients want a consulting partner that listens, pivots, and can help architect solutions. The technical concept of migrating data is easy, but a true partner understands what we are migrating, how we will migrate, how it impacts the company, and can provide solutions and ideas for a successful journey.

Having established a strategic plan, we then moved on to the execution, migrating private drives to Microsoft OneDrive from lowest to highest impact, adding in project management and managing communications as needed.

“For this migration project, we basically needed to lift all the papers off of 50,000 desks, switch out the desks, and lay the papers back down exactly as they were. Our subject matter experts have extensive experience working with Fortune 100 companies to make the most of Microsoft products and services, so we knew exactly how to approach such a complex task. Our experience, in combination with our hands-on approach, means we’re able to provide a white glove service to our clients, pairing the appropriate change management and project management to make the file share migrations a technical, operational and cultural success.”

– Harry Spiegelman, Senior Solution Architect


During the first phase of the project, we migrated 200 Terabytes of data across over two dozen groups for about 50,000 employees, leading to a significant increase in productivity and efficiency.  In terms of data cleanup, we consolidated decades of data, reducing data storage by almost 50 Terabytes.

The Microsoft cloud-based solution also provides additional benefits for the client, including:

Cost - By moving to Microsoft, the client could take advantage of the data storage already included in their licensing rather than pay extra for facilities, servers, networking, climate control and other administrative burdens associated with on-premises solutions.

Security - Previously, the client was responsible for their own servers, which meant they had to manage patching, potential vulnerabilities, disaster recovery, threat detection and prevention, physical security, and more. The client can now depend on Microsoft to manage security liabilities, as well as immediate patching for security incidents and data backup and recovery in the event of a disaster. The power of Microsoft’s paired data centers and global replication ensures data is never lost.

• Information protection - Microsoft Purview provides robust information protection that includes file governance, data loss prevention, and more for files stored in OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams. This product will provide additional protection to the client and help them understand not only what their data is, but where it resides, and how to control it.

• Collaboration - Employees can easily access and share information from their company-owned computer, company virtual machine, or registered personal device for real-time collaboration, optimization, and enhanced productivity.

Solutions & Roadmap

The client already had Microsoft 365 E5 licenses, so using CI’s S.A.F.E (Start Anywhere Finish Everything with E5) methodology, we recommended a roadmap of migrating private drives to Microsoft OneDrive and department shared drives to a combination of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online based on the need of the division (rather than Dropbox, Box, Google Workspace, or another web app) as the most secure, collaborative and cost-effective solution for their needs and goals. Through OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams, the client would be able to access ample storage, as well as the infrastructure, reliability, and security provided by Microsoft. These tools would also facilitate real-time collaboration for optimization across teams and groups, a function previously impossible using the legacy on-premises solution.

Now that the OneDrive migration is complete, CI is shifting its focus to migrating the company’s massive on-premises shared drive presence to Microsoft. We have already started the discovery phase, where the CI team has already conducted over 200 interviews to gain a clear understanding of how each division uses and collaborates with the data on their shared drives. We are also paying special attention to any data that would potentially require HIPAA, PII, PHI and BCI compliance.

At Collective Insights, we’re committed to delivering lasting value to our clients. Our approach is comprehensive and customized, and we provide more than just a roadmap—we help you get there, too.