RSCE Migrates from COSMOS to SharePoint Online

30 Aug 2021

RSCE Migrates from COSMOS to SharePoint Online

Mark Kaheru

In order to improve the way UN staff collaborate and manage content, the UN looked to Microsoft’s Office365 to provide a variety of tools with SharePoint Online (SPO), being one of these. SPO provides the Regional Service Centre Entebbe (RSCE) an opportunity to improve collaboration with its clients in the missions and offices away from headquarters.  

RSCE was chosen to pilot the Unite Workspace Project, which saw the Centre migrate all its internal content on COSMOS, the old SharePoint Online, to Microsoft Teams in phase one and then to the new SharePoint Online in October 2020.

RSCE was selected for several reasons but most importantly for the substantial amount of content it was transacting from its 17 mission clients in Africa through COSMOS and the professionalism and dedication of the Regional Field Technology Services Implementation and Project Management Unit (RIMPU) to provide a dependable platform to the RSCE and its mission clients for collaboration.

The Project Team, comprising of experienced staff from the Office for Information and Communication Technology/Enterprise Solutions Services (OICT/ESS) Application Transformation Unit, RIPMU and business representatives from the RSCE created a detailed migration plan – a very vital component in the success of the project and were faced with two very important questions: 

  • Do we need to migrate all COSMOS content to SharePoint Online or can we archive some of it? 
  • Do we need to re-organize the content or retain the current structure? 

The business representatives engaged RSCE stakeholders whose feedback formed the final SharePoint Online structure.

The migration 

Complex content included workflows that needed to be recreated and libraries with a lot of items. The team carried out several tests over the first 4 months to  ensure COSMOS content migrated to SPO and the Read Only Migrated Applications (ROMA) platform was acceptable to the clients. 

The team completed the migration of 63 sites and over 900,743 documents in a period of one month and 21 sites were migrated to SharePoint Online while 42 were archived in the ROMA platform. The migration was a continuous learning experience and, fortunately, no major issues were experienced during the process.

The switch 

Two weeks to the switch to SPO, the communication team engaged the RSCE staff and its clients on the changes taking place and the Implementation team trained RSCE internal staff and mission clients on how to use the new portal to submit documents and collaborate. 

The RSCE switched to SharePoint Online on the 7th of June 2021 and RSCE COSMOS is scheduled to be decommissioned on 31st December 2021.   

The switch was smooth and no major incidents were experienced largely attributed to the early communication and training of stakeholders.

RSCE RIMPU will continue the engagement with the COSMOS migration project, to assist missions with the standard COSMOS site migrations to SPO, for the overall benefits of all missions and the project.  

RSCE will support the COSMOS decommissioning for UN missions in Africa

The COSMOS platform will be fully decommissioned in all field missions by January 2022 and in UNHQ NY offices by June 2022. COSMOS migration Phase 2 will be implemented in parallel in all missions.  The OICT/ESS Application Transformation project team will continue using the approach that has proven successful during the pilot and with the support of the RSCE team. 

For information about the RSCE pilot contact