Knowing the pitfalls of relocating to a new site will save you money and time, as well as your nerves!
When you’re moving your business to new premises, you’ll have all kinds of things to worry about. In the first place, finding premises in an ideal location is a big challenge. Arranging how you’re going to move all your furniture and equipment can be a real hassle. When you start operating in the new property, getting all your staff properly settled in can be harder than you might think. Considering how much modern business relies on the internet and digital technology, getting your IT apparatus up and running is one of the most integral parts of a move. To make this easier for you, here’s a guide to moving your IT over to the new office.
Let’s begin at the beginning. To make sure the transition of technology goes as smoothly as possible, you need to be drawing up plans from the moment you decide you’re going to move to a new office. In your initial planning stages, start working on a detailed list of every IT company you’re planning to deal with. List all of your technology vendors, consultants and partners, along with anything you know about these companies which could possibly complicate the transition to your new premises. At this stage, it’s also a good idea to call up any telecom, technology and data service providers, and get them informed on where you’re moving and when. If you have to migrate any servers or other large apparatus, then you should look into all the surrounding logistics at this stage as well. Look at the available parking, the loading apparatus (freight bays, lifts etc.) and the width of hallways. You may need to source some extra services to get all your tech into the new building.
After this initial planning stage, you need to send your head of IT out to the site to carry out a thorough site survey. They probably know exactly what they need to look for, but just in case it’s a good idea to give them a checklist. They should perform a wireless survey; walking around the office space with a portable transmitter to measure the interference factors which could affect your Wi-Fi performance and range. Then, have them map out all the Wi-Fi access points they can find. You should make sure they have your site configuration plan on-hand so that they check this against the actual office. Give them some of the information you got from the property owner, such as the location of power outlets, access points, and network wiring closets and have your IT guy verify them. It’s also important that they have a look in the space you’re planning to use for server rooms, ensuring it meets the required space, cooling, security and electrical service. If it falls short in any of these areas, then you may be able to make certain modifications. Although cybercrime is a big threat to any business’ IT infrastructure, it’s also extremely important that you take your potential for physical security into account. Look into any installed card readers and CCTV cameras, check out the specific models, and decide whether or not you should upgrade. This brings me onto my next point …
Moving your business from one premise to another is probably the best time to update any equipment where it would be a sound investment. IT overhauls are pretty tough to pull off, and if you do it in the middle of day-to-day business it can cost you valuable time and resources. When you’re moving office, everything gets thrown up in the air anyway, so use this opportunity to evaluate all the equipment you’re planning to use. Carry out a hardware inventory, and read some business tech journals to see if it’s time to upgrade anything. After this, draw up a hardware purchase list, accounting for both the new hardware you need to expand and any retired equipment. You should contact vendors well ahead of the move to ensure you don’t run into any more delays when you want to be up and running. Just be sure to keep your information on the server room and wiring closets on hand, and make sure that any new equipment is going to work with these parts of the new office.
Data and telecom capabilities are also extremely important things to consider when you’re moving an IT infrastructure over to a new property. It’s pretty common for businesses to run into problems with their phone and internet when they first move into a new building. You need to work with your vendors in order to avoid any irritating hiccups in the transition. Think of the kind of phone system you’re going to be using, and if you’re going with dedicated phone lines figure out how many lines are actually needed. Assess the Ethernet cables currently in your inventory for the type, length and location of ports. Talk to internet and phone service providers well in advance, and ask them to make sure your services are live from the day you move in. Even if you’re not going to be trading on the first day, it can be helpful to play around and understand how everything works in the new building.
After all this planning and preparation, the last bit of work you need to do is on the actual moving day. One important thing to do is perform a backup on all your company data, IT configurations and systems, then verify and store them securely. Make sure any kind of cables and wiring are accurately labelled so that setting it all up at the new site is more straightforward. You also need to make sure that any important passwords and access verification codes are backed up on a secure, portable device, such as a flash drive. All your privileged IT staff need to have ready access to this during the move. Finally, have a comprehensive contact list of everyone who’s involved in the move, including their emails and phone numbers. Odds are you’re not going to need these, but if you do, having a contacts list can be a lifesaver!