Atlas enhances the way people can consume knowledge and collaboration in a digital workspace.
Atlas version 4.0 is a major upgrade and was released in August 2022! This is an exciting prospect because as well as a large bundle of useful new functionality and features (see the Atlas 4.0 Release Highlights & Features)
4.0 will also contain critical infrastructural and frame-work based improvements Atlas 4.0 Technical highlights here.
But is anything changing in the deployment process? The short answer is Yes! As our product evolves so too does the method we use to deploy it. ATLAS 4.0 and above puts you in the driving seat to decide when you upgrade, Independently of ClearPeople resource. Of course Independence doesn't mean Isolation; You can still rely on our Full Technical Support every step of the way.
- A new Atlas deployment for upgrades
- Self-service deployment model
- Why is the deployment process changing?
- How will the new process work?
- When will the change take place?
- How will upgrade process & scheduling be affected?
A new Atlas deployment for upgrades
Self-service deployment model
Our Atlas product vision is all about empowerment and self-service. In line with this commitment, we have built a safer, faster and more self-service approach to deploy and update Atlas. As part of this, we are introducing self-service deployment for Atlas 4.0 and higher.
The benefits of this are:
- ClearPeople deployment servers will no longer be required to access your infrastructure, which lowers the attach surface of your infrastructure.
- Atlas updates can be deployed in a timeframe suitable to you, ensuring more control and minimal impact to your users, especially during working hours.
- The same level of technical support will continue. Do keep us informed of your update plans and we will try to ensure dedicated resource is on standby on the day.
The deployment will require a user with high privileges in your tenant (Global Administrator for some of the steps like granting permissions to the App registrations) to run at least part of the scripts provided.
Why is the deployment process changing?
The current process where ClearPeople deploy the update through Azure DevOps has been identified as an area for improvement, and in-line with our vision, for ease of use, all new Atlas upgrades will be self-managed by the client IT teams. There are a number of benefits to this new process, including less reliance on ClearPeople for the deployment and deployment times of your choosing, reducing the potential impact to your users. Importantly this removes a touch point for your Azure Infrastructure since our servers will no longer need to access yours. This keeps us all safe and secure and in line with Microsofts Zero Trust security policy too. Bonus!
How will the new process work?
Here is a high level overview
- Your CSA will reach out with details for the upgrade, documentation and supporting materials, and start the conversation around expectations and timeframes. A date can then be booked in for the upgrade.
- Your IT administrator will need to complete a Microsoft form
- This form gathers all the key parameters that will be used on a CSV file in the next stage
- IT administrators will then receive PowerShell scripts containing the latest release of Atlas and that CSV file with you parameters
- Just like before they'll also receive a step-by-step Runbook guide on how to run the Atlas updates for your tenant
- This time we also provide a related video recording of ClearPeople running the upgrade so you have a live video to reference!
- A technical contact will be provided to assist the entire process if required.
How will upgrade process & scheduling be affected?
Whilst the deployment of Atlas to your tenant will be within your control, we do advise a scheduled date to upgrade your instance of Atlas is coordinated with your CSA so we can ensure technical resource is standing by should you need help. The supporting materials and documentation should be all you need to progress unless a tenant-based issue is encountered - these are uncommon but are quickly overcome if we work together.
ClearPeople will still be unable to provide out-of-hours support and we will unfortunately not be able to organise a screenshare to facilitate the execution of the Runbook and deployment scripts. If an issue has been identified and cannot be resolved through consulting the Runbook or accompanying video, your CSA will be able to organise a screenshare on short-notice, with priority, to investigate the issue directly.
Will there be any downtime?
Atlas will be useable over the course of the upgrades so there does not need to be any instruction provided to users not to use Atlas. However, during the upgrade some key features of Atlas, primarily Atlas ConneX and Add It tools may appear offline for 10-20 minutes.. This is to be expected temporarily and should not raise any concern.
Content can still be worked on and uploaded to Atlas and used as normal, but we advise some internal comms are sent out to advise users that Atlas is being upgraded and they may notice some unexpected behaviors during this time.
During Major upgrades, it is often best practice to instigate a content freeze - where no content is uploaded or workspaces/pages edited during the day of the upgrade. This is to ensure nothing is lost and the effort can be utilised another day outside of the times of upgrade. We can assist with what should be included in this communication.
Our best-practise recommendation for managing change is communication.
In advance of the update you can use ATLAS to communicate an upcoming update to it. Maybe a splash text web-part on your Home Page? A news item? This is a great way to prepare colleagues and to get them excited for new functionality. Maybe they have ongoing projects for which they can use the new HoverPoint?
On the day of the update you can use ATLAS to remind users of the event. This builds trust in the process and reassures them for any little quirks they might bump in to. This can help reduce the impact of unnecessary tickets hitting your internal Help Desk.
Your internal CAB team might already have a process for managing change like this and can offer specific guidance.
How to raise issues should any be encountered during the deployment?
Any queries or issues related to the deployment of 4.0 should be raised in the usual way via ZenDesk for your CSA to manage and respond to. There will be an existing ticket raised for your upgrade, this can be added to or a new ticket raised.
Prerequisites for the 4.0 upgrade?
Completion of the Microsoft Form
For each Atlas upgrades and deployment, a Microsoft Form will need completing first in order to capture your tenant information. Your designated implementation lead or CSA will ensure this form is sent to you to review.
We're really proud of the level of detail we've provided in our RunBook explaining clearly the steps required for each stage of the deployment. Almost anyone could do it!
However ATLAS upgrades will require a colleague who has Global Admin privileges in order to execute some of the PowerShell scripts used for the deployment.