December 17, 2018

Office of Public Prosecutions

Migration to Office 365 Boosts Productivity at Victoria’s Office of Public Prosecutions


To create a modern working environment that eliminated frustrations and gave its 420 staff the benefits of new technology.


Issued a request for proposal (RFP) seeking a partner with capabilities to navigate a complex transition from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Office 365.

IT Outcome

  • The Office 365 migration was completed on time without data loss.
  • Skills transfer so the in-house IT team can manage the new environment.
  • Elimination of time-consuming Lotus Notes integration challenges.

Business Outcome

  • A fast, user-friendly interface for messaging and documentation platforms.
  • Increased productivity, and adoption of more efficient work practices.
  • IT staff have time to work on projects that make life easier for staff and the community.

“The consultants became part of my team, and integrated well, they worked closely to transfer knowledge to my team – the partnership between our business and Data#3 was seamless.”

Bruce Stafford, Manager of Information Technology Services, Office of Public Prosecutions

The Background

As Victoria’s largest criminal legal practice, the Office of Public Prosecutions (“OPP”) is a government organisation that works alongside the Director of Public Prosecutions and Crown Prosecutors to prosecute serious offences.
The OPP has staff working in up to 50 courts each day, making mobility and collaboration a priority. IT is seen as a vital tool to support staff dedicated to a fair legal system.

The Challenge

The OPP’s email and documentation systems were dependent on an aging Lotus Notes platform, which integrated with a whole of government notes-based address book. Bruce Stafford, Manager of Information Technology Services, knew the Lotus Notes environment needed to be replaced.

“The challenge we had with Lotus Notes was that it was difficult to integrate with more modern software packages, so we were constantly having to implement convoluted workarounds,” said Stafford.

“Disaster recovery was a challenge – working with Lotus Notes in that environment was almost impossible.”

Integration with mobile devices was especially difficult, and with staff travelling to many of Victoria’s courts daily, it was important that they can work as efficiently as possible. New staff who were used to working with more modern systems, found it difficult to adapt to the Lotus Notes environment, placing an additional training burden on the busy IT team.

“It was a common pain point. New staff had been using Outlook and coming to use an old, clunky product like Lotus Notes led to many training issues,” said Stafford.

With many new features added to Microsoft Office 365, the product offered clear benefits to the business, but transitioning would be complex. Stafford issued a Request for Proposal seeking a partner for the project.

“The Data#3 response had a specific plan about implementation, and the process they’d go through was clearly documented,” said Stafford

“The level of detail made Data#3 stand out above the rest.”

IT Outcomes

Data#3 was engaged to migrate from Lotus Notes to Exchange, and provide a transfer of skills to the IT staff so they can confidently manage and support the new platform. The solution was fine-tuned over many months.
“The consultants became part of my team, and integrated well,” said Stafford.

“They worked closely to transfer knowledge to my team – the partnership between our business and Data#3 was seamless.”

There were, said Stafford, ‘few surprises’ given the magnitude of the project, something he put down to the level of preparation.

“The planning and work that was done prior to migration was executed well, so we avoided dramas, and finished on schedule.”

Part of that preparation involved the IT team training users on the new email and documentation system, so they were able to handle the change. Initially, there was a brief spike in support calls as users sought advice on getting the best from the new environment, but then the phones went quiet.

The final migration was undertaken by the IT team, with Data#3 overseeing the process. The changeover went well, and integration with the whole of government email platform occurred without a hitch.

“It was a great experience with very few issues, and all processes were well managed,” said Stafford.

“The Data#3 project manager gave regular updates, so we always knew what was happening.”

To the relief of the IT team, since the migration, risk has been greatly reduced by the ability to recover the email system in the event of a crisis.

“The project with Data#3 has really enhanced our disaster recovery capabilities,” said Stafford.

Business Outcomes

The transition to Office 365 provided a simpler, faster and more user-friendly interface into the OPP messaging and documentation platforms. For most staff, Office tools are already familiar, but where assistance is needed, it is readily accessed.

“Microsoft provide so many online resources that we just need to provide links, people can do self-managed learning,” said Stafford.

“This is a real time-saver for all involved.”

The collaboration options in Office 365 have been important for staff, lifting productivity. The ability to work offline, and collaborate more closely when working outside the office, make for an improved work-life balance. Cloud-based Office 365 is available from users’ choice of devices, giving them a familiar workspace when they’re working in court, from home, or in off-site meetings.

With the migration safely completed, the OPP has been able to investigate the many tools included in their Office 365 subscription. Microsoft Bookings has proved valuable for managing time of busy Crown Prosecutors.

“We have a number of Crown Prosecutors who spend time in the office giving advice to our lawyers, and we can now schedule a meeting online, saving a lot of emails back and forth, and making better use of their valuable time,” said Stafford.


Since transitioning successfully from Lotus Notes to Office 365, the IT team no longer spends its time creating workarounds on a dated system. The time saved has been invested in more innovation-based projects.

“We can now divert our attention to several technology projects designed to make our users’ lives easier,” said Stafford.

“We are trialing a paperless workplace – we used to have volumes and volumes of paper, but now staff are getting documents in electronic format.”

For Stafford, a highlight was that the combined OPP and Data#3 team met the challenge of a complex project, something he put down Data#3’s exceptionally detailed planning for the unique OPP environment.

“Some people here had huge Lotus Notes mailboxes, with some up to 70 Gigabytes, but good planning meant we successfully migrated everyone without loss of any mail or data,” said Stafford.