PODCAST EPISODE 2 – INTERVIEW WITH DUGALD DU PLESSIS

Podcast by Paul Ogier on November 10, 2020
Tourvest Destination Management IT Manager - Dugald du Plessis


Dugald has been the IT Manager at Tourvest Destination Management (TDM) since 2008. TDM offers a diverse portfolio of travel products and is part of the Tourvest Holdings (Pty) Ltd group of companies.

In this episode Paul Ogier speaks to Dugald du Plessis about two recent IT projects:

  • How TDM planned and managed the untangling of shared IT infrastructure with their sister company, Tourvest Travel Services, to enable an autonomous structure that supported their operational requirements.
  • Their approach to migrating TDM from on-prem Microsoft Exchange to Microsoft 365.

Who should listen to this episode?

Anyone who is considering, involved in or interested in:

  • How to go about separating shared IT infrastructure. 
  • The planning, testing, elements involved and the lessons learned in an unbundling of IT framework.
  • The lessons learned in migrating from on-prem Microsoft Exchange to Microsoft 365.

Show Notes

Tourvest Destination Management website https://www.tourvestdm.com/
Tourvest Destination Management on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/tourvest-destination-management/
Tourvest Destination Management on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tourvestdm
Tourvest Destination Management on Twitter https://twitter.com/tourvestdm
Tourvest Destination Management on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/tourvestdm/
Dugald du Plessis on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/dugald-du-plessis-819995131/

How many countries in Africa? 54 https://www.worldometers.info/geography/how-many-countries-in-africa/

What does Split Domain Name System (Split DNS) mean? https://www.techopedia.com/definition/1346/split-domain-name-system-split-dns
What is MPLS: What you need to know about multi-protocol label switching  https://www.networkworld.com/article/2297171/network-security-mpls-explained.html
IP security (IPSec) https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/ip-security-ipsec/
User Profile Wizard Release 20 https://www.forensit.com/domain-migration.html
Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT) Guide: Migrating and Restructuring Active Directory Domains https://www.microsoft.com/en-za/download/details.aspx?id=19188
FortiGate Next-Generation Firewalls https://www.fortinet.com/products/next-generation-firewall
Juniper Firewalls https://www.juniper.net/us/en/solutions/security/next-gen-firewall/
Kruger National Park https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/

Edited Transcript

Paul Ogier  

Howzit, Dugald, how are you doing?

Dugald du Plessis  

Hi there, Paul. All, good. Thank you very much. Your side? 

Paul Ogier  

Ja, can't complain. 

I've got my first in-person meeting happening next week, and I haven't had an in-person meeting in six or seven months. I'm used to this whole new normal and doing these zoom calls and having an in-person meeting is going to be a bit weird. But 

Dugald du Plessis  

I’m also used to virtual meetings, but I do go into the office, every now and again, I won't say regularly. 

Paul Ogier

We like to start off each of these podcast episodes with a couple of quick questions. Just an icebreaker to get people onto the same page and get to know a little bit about you. 

Android versus iOS, which is your preference?

Dugald du Plessis

iOS.

Paul Ogier  

And social networks? Which one do you use? Are you a Facebook person? Are you on Reddit?

Dugald du Plessis  

I'm not a Facebook person. I do have an account though. I'm more of an Instagram person, Twitter, that sort of thing. So yes, I want to control the people that I follow. You know, where I can draw energy from. So I don't necessarily want to see what Paul is eating today and where Paul is going tomorrow. Hence I stick to Instagram and Twitter. 

Paul Ogier  

Are you a real book, ebook or an audiobook kind of guy?

Dugald du Plessis  

Give me a real book. Real newspaper. I like the feel of the book of a newspaper. I don't know what it is about it. But, ja, give me something that I can hold.

Paul Ogier  

Okay, so the nostalgia element, the smell, the weight?

Dugald du Plessis  

Absolutely, absolutely. So the smell of a newspaper. I just love that smell of a new book. There's just something about it. So yes, I'm not an ebook person, strangely enough. I lose concentration when I read an ebook. Give me something that I can hold.

Paul Ogier  

Well, I think there's the danger element when you've got a real book. If you're lying in bed and you're reading a real book. If you fall asleep, it is gonna crack you on the head. So there's a danger.

Dugald du Plessis  

It could be it. Could be. No, definitely, definitely a real book. I just love the feel of it, yes, and the smell of it.

Paul Ogier  

Okay, last great TV show or movie that you've watched?

Dugald du Plessis  

More of a series person. Movies, you know, nowadays, I watch all the kiddies' movies. 

Paul Ogier  

So Barbie goes to playschool or something like that.

Dugald du Plessis  

Yes, yes, yes. But more the boy stuff. So yes. But, ja, I'm into series. And sports. I love my sports.

Paul Ogier  

Okay, what sports? Cricket, rugby?

Dugald du Plessis  

Cricket, rugby, golf, you name it. I flip through all the sports channels. It has been a bit of a challenge over the past seven or seven or eight months. They have no sports on the TV or live sport that is. So but ja, these things are picking up again.

Paul Ogier  

Okay, well, I can watch rugby I can watch from cricket. I don't think I've ever understood the point of watching golf.

Dugald du Plessis  

You just follow the ball. That's all.

Paul Ogier  

Last one, if you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would that be?

Dugald du Plessis  

I think that would be love, Paul. I just feel that everyone needs love and an abundance thereof. So yes, whether it's love from family members, friends, you know everyone just wants love and I think love just makes the world a better place. 

Paul Ogier  

So obviously in the preparation for this podcast, I stalked you a little bit on LinkedIn. And I saw that before Tourvest Destination Management, you worked for a provincial hospital. 

Are you happy working under that kind of stress? I mean, you worked in a hospital, you're now working in a corporate environment. Stress is obviously part of what you do. How do you cope with that?

Dugald du Plessis  

I try to stay calm in stressful situations. Look, when something goes down, whether it's in hospital, or whether it's in the travel industry that I'm working in now for Tourvest Destination Management when something goes down, it's stressful. 

I try and focus on the task at hand, and not think so much of the impact it has got. Look, the systems that we controlled at the hospital didn't really impact lives as such, you know. But, yes, it's part of the service that you're delivering. 

Obviously, you try and keep level headed because that's the best way to look at a problem. I don't know how I really do it, to be honest with you. A lot of people tell me, I'm very, very calm in stressful situations. But yes I just try and focus on the task at hand. 

Unless I watch sports. That's a completely different story. 

I think that's just the type of person that I am. I stay calm. Obviously, some people know which buttons to press but generally, I am just a calm person.

Paul Ogier  

So you've been at Tourvest Destination Management now for 12 years. In 2008 everything was on-prem, and the internet wasn't great. What are the changes that you've seen in those 12 years at Tourvest? 

Dugald du Plessis  

The entire network has changed. Like you say, the internet wasn't great at the time. I remember when I started at Tourvest Destination Management we had a link of, I think it was a 1Mg link, and gee at the time, we thought it was fast, we thought it was flying. We had a lot of dial-up connections, you know, to other branches, etc. So the network has changed completely.

I remember when I started there, we had a problem with the exchange, almost every week. It was stressful.

If I look back, from the time that I joined to now and what we've got, and what we've changed, we've literally changed everything. From the links, the entire network design. The servers that we've used, all of those, as you mentioned, everything is in the cloud. 

And that is where we intend to move now. So we've also moved a lot of our services into the cloud because that's the future. That's the new way of doing IT.

Paul Ogier  

And when you started there was probably like a server room in each of your locations. What are those server rooms being used for now? Are they still on-prem servers in there? Are there just the routers?

Dugald du Plessis  

So yes we do have the server rooms at all our branches. We've still got our file server there and our storage. Of course, those are obviously things that we're looking at moving into the cloud at the moment. 

So we've taken our first step, we've moved our mail into the Cloud. So next is our file server. So we've adopted the cloud solution as such. So Office 365, those sort of things that are all the technologies we're looking at, we were planning this year on moving all our infrastructure, that's our head office, Tourvest Destination Management, head office, all our infrastructure into the cloud, and then COVID hit. So that's obviously put a spanner in the works.

So that is still our future plan, definitely moving all our services into the cloud, into Azure, using all the Office 365 functionalities. So yes, that is our plan. 

Paul Ogier  

So you've just done a project where you've separated two companies. You've separated ADs, you've changed from Exchange server to Office 365. That's a massive project. And then you've got COVID, and you've got running normal day to day things. Why did you actually do this?

Dugald du Plessis  

We needed to split our domain. We had a wide area network that we shared with our sister company Tourvest Travel Services. 

At the time, we wanted to align our ITs and our infrastructure. At the time it was working, it was working great. I normally explain to people or service providers that we were happily married, it was a happy divorce, but we needed to do divorce just purely because of different business requirements. 

We didn't want to hold each other back with technologies. We've shared a lot of infrastructure together like our firewalls, our active directory, the Exchange servers, APN, VPN, all of those infrastructures. It was very difficult for us to make changes answer wanted to go a certain route without having an impact in Tourvest Travel Services, and, and vice versa. 

So we needed to split the infrastructure, the domains, etc. so that we can go our way and they go their way.

It's Still a very good relationship. It's just purely from a business point of view we have different requirements and business needs.

Paul Ogier  

So I think that the quote of this podcast so far is “happily divorced”.

The planning involved in that must have been ridiculous. You must have started planning this a year ago?

Dugald du Plessis  

We did. It was about a year before the project actually kicked off that we started planning because we needed to understand what it is that we want to do and want to achieve and then have a roadmap. How are we going to get to that goal or that dream? 

We had to redesign our entire WAN. What are we going to do in South Africa? Are we still going to go with an MPLS  network? Cross border, are we going to go MPLS? Do we know cross border MPLS is costly? So are we going to go IPsec tunnels? Are we going to go SD-WAN what are we going to do? And at the end of the day, you know, we put down that dream on the board. And we said, how are we going to achieve this dream? Or are we going to turn this dream into reality? 

We mapped out step by step the different subnets that we were going to use. 

In East Africa, we've got offices in Uganda, in Kenya, we've got two offices in Nairobi and Mombasa. We've got Tanzania, all of those basically draw services or get certain services from Nairobi. So are we gonna design the network or that and then have that traffic back all the way to South Africa? Are we going to go the IPsec tunnels, is there going to be a specific hub in those regional offices, that's going to be called the core site? 

So a lot of planning went into this and it was a massive project for us. 

So we carefully planned it and we tested, then we planned and we tested and when we weren't happy, we deleted the entire configuration. And we went back to the whiteboard and redesigned it and retested and all of that. 

It was an exciting project. I must say. It wasn't easy. We had our challenges, of course. But at the end of the day, I think it was successful.

Paul Ogier  

We'll come back to the challenges just now. 

And the rest of Africa that you guys operating in? How does the internet look in the rest of Africa? Here in South Africa, we've got fibre. I've got a 100Mbps internet at my house but what does the rest of Africa look like? 

I mean, if you're talking about MPLS, you're talking about IPsec, you need to have a decent enough internet to be able to handle those kinds of connections.

Dugald du Plessis  

The internet connection is quite stable there. They've got good connectivity up there. It obviously depends where in Africa you are but in all those countries where we've got a presence, the internet connection is, I won't say cheap, but it's, it's comparable with South Africa's. 

And it's stable. I can't remember when last we had a link down in any of our offices in Africa. So they've got quite a good connection, or connectivity up there.

As I said, it's as good as South Africa's in some of those countries, it's even cheaper than what it is in South Africa. So yes, we don't have any problems with internet connectivity in any of those countries. 

Paul Ogier  

And you're doing IPsec and some of the countries you're not doing anything like SD-WAN or anything?

Dugald du Plessis  

We wanted to go SD-WAN and we thought the technology is a little bit new, maybe we should wait with it. And we just went IPsec all the way back to our core site in South Africa. 

So whenever we go cross border we're going to go IPsec. So SD-WAN is where you've got different connectivities. Together with your firewall, you bundle those two, those connectivities into one and you can then obviously parse across the two etc. So yes, it's basically functional on your firewalls as such, where you can go with different service providers, and you can bundle that into one connection as such.

Paul Ogier  

So how did you plan for flexibility? How do you plan for the fact that in five years time, you might want to move away from IPsec or go to SD-WAN? It might go all the way back to how to name a new Active Directory? What kind of planning is involved to get that kind of flexibility going in the future?

Dugald du Plessis  

So we sat around the table or around the whiteboard.

And, funny enough, you mentioned the AD name. It's easy just to go to the acronym TDM and there you go but because we are a multi-branded company, we've got a lot of domains. 

So we needed to make sure that we don't end up with a situation where we've got split DNS. We wanted to keep our internal DNS completely separate to our external DNA. So we needed to think carefully about what we're going to call our domain. Are we going to go with a subdomain? Or are we just going to go with a domain that's registered that we know we are not using but that we've registered it? What are we going to do there? 

So there was a lot of planning, exactly the same way with connectivity to our other branches. Are we going to go IPC? If we want to change it, how easy would we be able to change it? What sort of firewalls are we going to go with? We needed to do to think carefully about, because what we said is that if we want to change anything in the next 10 years, we should be able to do so whether it be our firewalls, our active directory, our internet connectivity, or the method in which we could make to our active directory, all of that we needed to take into consideration. 

So yes, a lot of planning around those topics. And we needed to make sure that if we want to change anything in the next 10 years, for instance, how easy would it be for us to change? Look, we will never know whether we've got all those answers right until we hit something along the line where we want to implement something or we want to change something and it might not be that easy to change, or to implement.

Paul Ogier  

One of my favourite parts about splitting an AD or starting an AD from scratch is the blank slate. The designing of the OU structure and figuring everything out the security groups and that stuff. 

You're dealing with how many staff?

Dugald du Plessis  

So we migrated call it about 750 users and easily 10,000 objects.

Paul Ogier  

You see now that starts getting exponentially more and more challenging. I mean, I don't want to sound weird, but how big is your whiteboard?

Dugald du Plessis  

And I'm very pedantic when it comes to my Active Directory. As you mentioned, having a clean Active Directory that's what everyone wants. And we know how easily it can run away with you. So for instance, the Office 365 groups, if you create a team now, or a SharePoint site that it creates an API to that back into your active looks. It really irks me it makes my blood boil If I see what those groups look like. So it's those sort of things.

I love it a clean Active Directory because I want to go into my Active Directory, I want to be able to see exactly any object anything that looks weird, and it's easy to pinpoint where a problem is if you've got a clean Active Directory and not having to go and look for something.

Paul Ogier  

Absolutely.

So we were speaking earlier about the challenges, what are some of the challenges that you had in the migration?

Dugald du Plessis  

One of the biggest challenges, Paul, was ADMT. 

We used the Active Directory Migration Tool in combination with another tool Profile Wizz. That ADMT tool just stopped working for no reason. You would be busy with a massive, massive migration of, let's call it, you know, 1000 objects, and halfway through, it will just bomb out. And you don't know where it stopped.

Paul Ogier  

With no real reason, with no explanation, nothing?

Dugald du Plessis  

No information, nothing. 

They give you a lock file. And that lock file is about, you know, 100 pages, and now to sift through that and find the problem is going to take you forever. So that tool would just stop working for no apparent reason, then you would, and it's not just as easy, as you know, opening it up and carrying on. 

So it would stop working and we’d have to reconfigure that tool basically from scratch. It happened about two or three times with us during a migration. 

So that was the biggest challenge, I would say. 

Also, another one was security translation. 

So wherever we got those big file servers we ran the security translation on the ADMT tool. So that's taking all your permissions across or migrating all your permissions to the new domain, using the same file server. Some of those security translations just didn't filter through.

 It would do half of it or a quarter of it. And, you know, you're never gonna find out, up until obviously, someone complains that I don't have access to this. 

So at the biggest sites, we've got big file servers. That was a bit of a problem for us, maybe I had to, you know, basically wait for someone to complain and say I don't have access to this folder or that file, etc, and then having to go and redo the permissions on those specific directories. 

So those were quite, you know, big challenges for us. 

Also the amount of downtime that we had. Obviously, there would be downtime because we changed the old PLs, or we changed the entire IPsec and in so doing the switch over required downtime. So, you know, you only realize when it's Sunday evening, 10 o'clock, that you're gonna run out of time. And Monday morning, everyone's back at the office. So those were the challenges that we had. 

I think they had like three profiles that just completed lost those profiles, user profiles that is, so where the profile didn't work, the ADMT tool didn't work. It would do the migration, you could say the migration is successful, when you log into that machine, that profile is just gone, it would be creating a new profile, basically, for you. 

So, yes, those were the sort of challenges that we faced.

Paul Ogier  

With the migrating of the profiles, with the migrating of the ADs, the things that didn't work, were you able to trace back anything that's said, well, these are profiles that we created on Windows 2008, R2 or something. And those are the three that didn't come across properly? Or was it just random things that that happened?

Dugald du Plessis  

It was just random. 

So when we hit the second one, we wanted to look for similarities between the two machines, is it you know, using the same operating system and the same version of that operating system? Windows updates, those sort of things? We looked at basically everything. And we could not find anything, we could have missed it, maybe. But we could not find anything to say that this is the exact reason why this particular profile did not migrate across

Paul Ogier  

How many staff actually were part of this, that that helped out with the move, whether it's at your premises in Sandton, or you've got at your other branches? So how many, how many are you looking at?

Dugald du Plessis  

So at our branch, in Sandton, we used seven of our staff. 

So throughout the entire project, it was mainly the infrastructure team that worked on this, because it's mainly the Active Directory, the WAN. 

When it came to the actual migrations of the machines, we used all our internal IT resources at all the sites. So we've basically made use of everyone that we've got when it came to the actual migration of the user machines. 

On the higher level, so you know, the object migration, your security groups, your distribution lists, your user migrations, those sort of things, it was mainly the infrastructure staff that dealt with that.

Paul Ogier  

What would you recommend to people who are planning something like this move? If people are separating from other companies, of people are looking to go from on-prem exchange to Office 365, or Microsoft 365, as they're calling it now, what would your advice be? 

Dugald du Plessis  

I would say plan. Make sure that you're not just doing this migration for the sake of it. Ask yourself why do I want to do this? What do I want to achieve? Then map out how you want to achieve that dream or that goal? 

It's something that needs careful planning, careful planning and testing. I cannot emphasize that enough is the planning and the testing, it needs to be spot on. It really needs to be spot on and your testing is not just two to three machines. Really do your testing, proper properties and see what happens on your DNS level. 

Make sure that you don't sit with a situation where you have split DNS, think about the name of your Active Directory, and think about how that will tie in if you've got plans to move into office 365. Will your tenant name be the same as your active directory name, think carefully about those sort of things. 

That's the sort of advice that I can give others. We've been through the pain and yes, as I said, it was an exciting project, it really was.

Paul Ogier  

So how has this impacted on your IT team or your infrastructure team? Instead of having people that were working on exchange the whole time, you've now got Office 365? Have you redeployed them? Are they retrained? What does the team look like now?

Dugald du Plessis  

It hasn't really changed. It's still the same team, but I would say they are multi-skilled. 

Now instead of only focusing on Active Directory, that same person is looking at the Active Directory, the firewall and Exchange Online, those sort of things. 

It has helped us in terms of upskilling the staff. They are multi-skilled now across all those sectors, Active Directory, on-prem, Azure, Exchange Online, etc. 

So, yes, it has really helped us a lot in terms of skills development.

Paul Ogier  

Now that you've got a nice clean Active Directory, you've got Office 365, you've got your firewalls, you've got your MPLS, your IPsec is it simpler? Is the way that you are managing your network simpler? 

Dugald du Plessis  

It definitely feels better. And that’s most probably because we are in control of our own destiny now. 

Is it easier to manage? I don't know. As I mentioned, we shared infrastructure and some of those responsibilities didn't lie with us as TDM. It was with TTS. So for instance, the firewall, we never managed the firewall. It was a role and responsibility on the Tourvest Travel Services side. Now that obviously sits with us. So it's more responsibility.  

Is it easier to manage? Yes, it is, because when we want something done, we don't have to wait for someone at the Tourvest Travel Services side to get a gap and do it for us. We obviously jump straight into it. But it's definitely more responsibility that's for sure. 

It feels good to be able to manage your own services. As I said, you're in control of your own destiny.

Paul Ogier  

The migration of the AD, there are obviously tools to do that even though they're not the perfect tools. And to migrate the firewall, what was that like? Because firewalls, there are rules by the hundreds of thousands, there are ports that are open, there are redirect rules, there's everything. What firewalls are you on right now?

Dugald du Plessis  

We currently use Fortigate firewalls. 

We shared a firewall with Tourvest Travel Services. That was a Juniper. 

So the migration of the firewalls that was quite fun. It took us about a week to just do the rules. I'm not exaggerating here. 

So we had one set of external IP addresses and one subnet as such. So we needed to make sure that moving across we take all our services of the firewall rules of the firewall and need to implement that on outside, but with a new set of subnets that have been given to us by our service providers. So it's still the same service provider but they now needed to split that out for us. So that was quite fun. 

It literally took us about a week and with this there is no real tool to help. You do get tools that they claim that it works. We have tried a couple and I can tell you now it does not work as well as what they claim. 

So a lot of it was manual. We needed to set up that firewall basically from scratch. And we don't just have five or 10 rules on that firewall, we've got literally hundreds and hundreds of rules. We needed to plan carefully for that as well because you cannot really go and test that on a test environment because it's live services that are running on that. 

You’re actually only going to find that out when you implement those rules. So we've created all those rules and put a new site onto this new Active Directory and MPLS. We needed to go and test all these rules to make sure and that’s is impossible to test every single rule. 

But we needed to test the main services that filtering through all the traffic that's filtering through that firewall, so we were able to do that as we brought a site live on the new MPLS we could test certain services. So I can tell you that that was a lot of fun. That was a lot of fun.

Paul Ogier  

Well, I think I think if you're looking at some sort of tool to export all of the rules from the old firewall, putting them on the new one, you've got to split between your company and Tourvest Travel Services, and they've got certain rules, you've got certain rules, and Juniper going to Fortigate I think it actually might be simpler to do it manually. Secondly, it might be cleaner to do it manually? 

Dugald du Plessis  

Correct. 

So that's exactly what we did. We exported all our rules that had on the Juniper firewall and we went through those rules, line by line. Actually, we did an audit on all our rules to ask ourselves do we still need this rule? Do we still need this service? Do we still need this virtual domain?

And once we were happy, we then went to the new firewall, and we implemented on the new firewall.

Paul Ogier  

Now obviously you're talking about testing on a firewall with live things which is much more challenging. Were you doing the testing, before the migration, on your servers, connecting endpoints to the servers, where there's actually real machines, or were you doing it all virtual machines?

Dugald du Plessis  

We set up a test AD. 

At first, we built a test environment for us. We had a test AD on there and we tested with virtual machines. We tested with actual physical machines as well. What better way than to test in with your own machine because then you're going to feel the pain if something is not working. 

We built our test environment, and we built it and then we deleted it, and then we rebuilt it because then we were not happy with something and then we deleted it. We weren't happy with the DNS. we deleted it and all those sorts of things, we were not happy with this subnet that we've created on our DNS, for instance, then we deleted it. And that's how we tested with physical machines and with virtual machines. 

Once we were happy with our new environment and we said, this is how we're going to build it, this is what we're going to call the domain. This is what our Active Directory will look like. These are the services that will run on our domain controllers. These are all the points where we have domain controllers or the sites where we'll have domain controllers. This is where our primary domain controller will be this is where our secondary will be. These are the subnets that we will use at those sites. And this is our replication will work on an Active Directory level. 

So yes a lot of planning and a lot of testing went into it.

Paul Ogier  

Now that this is up and running what kind of change management do you have going forward? Like if someone wants to add a user and they're not spelt right or how their email addresses are formed? What kind of change management are you looking at so that it doesn’t mess with your beautiful AD?

Dugald du Plessis  

Let's say a new user starts or new staff member starts and we get that new user form. So that gets filled in by HR. It goes through our HR system, and it automatically then logs a request on the support portal on outside, and the guys literally copy and paste, because, you know, it's easy to make a spelling mistake when we type it out. 

So we basically go copy and paste but based on the change control that we've got we are looking at implementing new procedures now where we give the ability to for our human capital or HR department so that they can create those users and as they fill it in out on the HR system it automatically gets written into the AD. With the proper control, of course, in place so that it gets approved by one of the IT staff members. 

The turnaround times would obviously then improve. Then they would be able to disable and enable accounts. When someone leaves HR is obviously the first to know about it and you can then set an expiry on that user account and it will then do everything in Active Directory together and write it through to do the Office 365 or Microsoft 365, and delete that mailbox in Exchange Online, etc. 

So we're looking at implementing all those sorts of changes on our side.

Paul Ogier  

Ja, look with the change management, if you said to me, HR was going to be in control, it just terrifies the hell out of me. So I'm pleased you put in the change management approvals because having someone else touching my AD, freaks me out.

Dugald du Plessis  

No, as I mentioned, we're very pedantic about our active directory. So any system that we implement and if we hear that thing writes back to AD, we want to know why we can not change that. We want one-directional from AD `to whichever system. We don't want it to write back to our active directory. 

Those Office 365 groups and the way they are, and then there's no way to stop that was when we needed to create a distribution list. I don't know why Microsoft could not have done it differently. But maybe those changes are still coming. But at the moment, I'm not happy with what some of those Office 365 groups.

Paul Ogier  

So you are dealing with tourism, and you're dealing with your partners. How do you collate all this information? I mean, you're doing accommodation and adventure travel and group travel and logistics management and a whole bunch of other things. How do you collate all that information into some sort manageable platform that people can actually deal with and interact with?

Dugald du Plessis  

So we've got a lot of systems in place, Paul. For me as the IT manager, it's important to make sure that we've got the platform or the infrastructure to support those systems. But yes, we've got a lot of systems in place that would deal with all those scenario. 

I'm not really involved in the system side of things as I’m on the infrastructure side. So my job is to make sure that we've got the infrastructure to support those systems.

Paul Ogier  

Okay, your job as IT manager for Tourvest Destination Management is supporting the travel industry of South Africa the travel industry of Africa. That is a beautiful thing to be a part of. I love South Africa. I love travelling through Africa. Have you realized that your role's actually impacting on people's fun times their holidays, their experience of our country?

Dugald du Plessis  

So, yes, Paul, I do realize that I do play a role behind the scenes. I do play a role in making someone else's dream reality and it's a good feeling you being part of that puzzle. We've got such a beautiful country. I just want people to visit our country and see the beauty in not only our country but the continent. So yes it is a nice feeling.

Paul Ogier  

I'm gonna put you on the spot. What where would you recommend our listeners come to? Is it our shorelines? Is it our bush? What would you suggest to them?

Dugald du Plessis  

For me, I just love the bush. My wife's not gonna agree with me there butI just love the bush so the Kruger National Park is always a winner. I love the Kruger especially the Sabi riverside. 

Paul Ogier  

Where would your wife go?

Dugald du Plessis  

My wife would go to the beach. She's a beach person. Give her the beach any day of the week and she'll happily go. 

Paul Ogier  

The West Coast, East Coast, Durban, Cape Town, Eastern Cape? 

Dugald du Plessis  

So for my wife the Western Cape side definitely. She loves the Western Cape. Especially the southern cape. The Western Cape’s water is a little bit cold. You know the Garden Route, Mossel Bay, Knysna, George, that area. 

Paul Ogier  

Beautiful, beautiful areas. Thank you, Dugald, that was brilliant. And thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I'm not jealous of the fact that you just went through this. I'm jealous of the fact that you've got a nice beautiful AD. What advice would you give to anyone who's listening to this and wants to get to where Dugald is?

Dugald du Plessis  

As IT people, we always tend to want to do everything. I want to look after the exchange, I want to be networking, I want to be in programming. For me, it's about finding your first love. What is it that I want to do? You need to specialize in something so I cannot be a programmer and network administrator. Find what it is that you love or where your passion is. Once you've discovered that then map out a direction for yourself. 

Where do you want to specialize in? Is it infrastructure? Do you want to specialize in securities and firewalling? What is it that I want to specialize in? So find what it is that you love, or what you want to specialize in and then take it from there.

Paul Ogier  

Brilliant. Dugald, thank you so much. Where can we get hold of you? Where can we get hold of Tourvest? And how do we get more information about you guys?

Dugald du Plessis  

So we've got a website www.tourvestdm.com and all our information is on the website. I'm personally on Instagram, and Tourvest Destination Management also an Instagram page. We're on Twitter, we basically on all the social media platforms, you'll find all the information I obviously don't know all those handles, but you will find all the information on our website.

Paul Ogier  

Perfect. I'll put them into the show notes as well. Thank you. And I hope that you have a great morning further.

Dugald du Plessis  

Thank you very much, Paul, really appreciate it. Nice chatting to you. 

Paul Ogier  

Nice chatting to you too.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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