French Infrastructure and Technology Powerhouse Sparks Collaboration and Compliance by Merging Directories


“For this larger migration, Binary Tree Active Directory Pro made everything a lot easier. Planning and migration of users and computers did not depend on location or type of network connection. Also, we didn’t need to visit any of the physical workstations.”

—Jan Willem Lamers, IT Operations manager for VINCI Energies Netherlands


The situation: VINCI Energies acquires an ICT company

VINCI Energies Group is a global on-the-move energy company headquartered in Paris. They help people and places, use energy and data better, in everywhere from buildings to industrial automation, healthcare and innovative education. And they always look for ways to do more. So in 2014, they rounded out their services by acquiring a 600-person IT and communications firm based in the Netherlands. This ICT service provider and system integrator helps other companies, carriers, and service providers with everything from IT infrastructure and software to digital transformation.

The goal: Merge directories quickly

To speed up collaboration and compliance, VINCI Energies challenged the ICT company, now rebranded to Axians, to integrate their Active Directory by the end of 2016. In the past, VINCI Energies Netherlands had integrated other acquired smaller companies with free scripts and tools like Microsoft ADMT. So they passed these along, assuming they would work for Axians, too.

Challenges: Volume, remote users, and complexity

Axians soon realized that free tools wouldn’t be robust or flexible enough to handle the complexities of their migration. For one, they had more users than other companies VINCI Energies had acquired before. They were also spread across three offices and four data centers, with 99% of their users on laptops. So they weren’t able to physically visit many of the workstations. Finally, as an IT company, Axians’ infrastructure was more complex than average. They develop and sell custom applications and services to their clients—many of which are tied to Active Directory. To avoid breaking vital connections, they’d need to tread carefully.

The right solution for a complex migration

Axians quickly landed on Binary Tree to handle the size and complexity of their migration. The lead consultant on the project, Marzel Laning, had used Binary Tree products in the past and thought they’d be a great fit for this project.

They chose Binary Tree’s Directory Sync Pro to keep their directories in sync in the interim. And they used Active Directory Pro to automate their migration and keep everything secure. It let them fully customize their migration to meet their complex scenarios, with no need to write their own scripts.

Careful planning and testing

But first, planning. Because they had so many custom tools and services that depended on Active Directory, the team decided to spend ample time on a ‘Phase 0.’ They spent a couple of months tracking down everything that might be affected by the migration, meeting with group after group.

They also tested to make sure everything would migrate as expected. “Given the complexity of Axians’ systems, we had to do rigorous testing and tuning for our various scenarios,” says Jan Willem. “But the tool from Binary Tree made this possible.”

The results: Deadline met—with no downtime or issues

The planning, testing, and automated software paid off. Using Binary Tree’s Active Directory Pro, Axians could fully customize their migration, without extensive scripting. It gave them the flexibility to migrate workstations at will, either one by one or in batches. And they could do everything remotely, without having to physically touch each workstation.

“We were able to roll out hundreds of machines with the Offline Domain Join feature,” said Marzel. “It handled a lot more workstations at once than we expected. This made the migration a breeze.”

In the end, Axians met their deadline of integrating their directory with VINCI Energies’s by the end of the year. And they did it with zero downtime or reported issues.

“Our investment in Binary Tree paid off. We had much fewer problems with this roll-out than we’ve had in the past with other scripted solutions. We’re definitely using Binary Tree in our future infrastructure migrations.”

- Jan Willem Lamers, IT Operations manager for VINCI Energies Netherlands

Next up: More projects with Binary Tree

VINCI Energies is looking forward to making future migrations easier with Binary Tree. Case in point, Marzel said they’ve just acquired another 300- person company. And he’s already been tapped to use Binary Tree to get them on board. They also plan to use Binary Tree software with their own clients, to help ease their technology transformations.


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