Trans-locating your business is both exciting and challenging. It’s a given that today’s companies have a sizeable amount of tech (and its’ connectivity) to consider when changing premises. Unfortunately, having a general understanding of how you’ll need to cater for your tech isn’t a good approach to moving tech. At least, it’s not good enough.
To avoid delays, intense frustration and a possible dent in your reputation and turnover, moving tech demands a careful and comprehensive plan. Forward planning is essential to avoid hiccups. As long as a few important points are addressed, much of the process can be rendered pleasant and productive in a tech move.
Organisation and responsibility
A successful tech trans-location starts with people. Preferably, with your IT people. If you have no dedicated IT staff, paying for your MSP to oversee the tech aspects of your move is money very well spent. An IT relocation company can make all the difference. Their forward planning will ensure there’s a location and performance expectation for each piece of tech your business employs at the new venue. Correct pre-packaging and handling also saves significantly in overall cost.
- Who’s going to take responsibility for moving the tech? There needs to be an appointee who oversees this specific aspect of the move. Even if there’s already an overall “move director,” tech should be treated as a separate, essential focus and appointment.
- In that vein, who’s going to move the office overall? You and the staff might be able to load everything and make repeated trips across town, but professional movers can elevate the process to a positive, pleasant experience. If you hire them, ensure the movers have insurance for complete peace of mind.
- You’re also moving people you almost never see. Service providers should all be documented and notified of the pending move. There can be implications for phone, email and site hosts, as well as other service providers in your move. Think each provider through and discuss details with them. Don’t forget to let the webmaster know to update your Contact page, too.
- Service providers can have widely varying schedules and response times. Allow for two or three months prior to moving to ensure they’re all are up to speed with your requirements. To a large extent, the more time you have to plan beforehand, the smoother a move is likely to be.
- Be prepared to spend a little on packaging and associated supplies. Organised and correctly equipped, moving personnel can ensure productivity remains constant upon setup in the new premises.
Pre-planning for a new location
Long before the day of the move, the floor plan of the new venue should already be lodged in your consciousness. Indeed, you’ll need the floor plan to disseminate among service providers so they can all give input and even effect installation before the actual move.
- Make time to visit the new premises often prior to moving. Chat with neighbouring tenants if the building hosts other occupants. Ask about their experience when moving in, and you’re likely to glean a host of valuable tips and issues that need to be added to the planning.
- Pay special attention to the nature of the electricity supply to the building. Are you adequately outfitted with plug sockets and typical electrical functionality? Is the building correctly wired? Ask to see the certification, if you failed to see it when signing the lease or sale papers. Your phones, servers, workstations, printers and other devices will all need adequate and correct supply.
- Where is the server room and other key tech’s destination? Is it adequate? Will everything fit and function in its new environment? Be specific about your data centre’s requirements, paying special attention to ongoing functionality of online security, real-world security and access, as well as things like backup power supply, surge protection, operating temperature and fire protection.
Additional considerations when moving tech
- Revisit your connectivity and telecom requirements. A move can often mean a change in application of various tech, or a change in the nature of the tech you employ. Remember: it’s the critical nature of ongoing communication with clients and staff that enables business to continue without a hitch in new premises. Some service providers might not be able to give you service in your new location, so you’ll need to investigate local options ahead of time. Be especially diligent about getting references for any new service providers. Day One in your new premises isn’t a good time to discover you’ve appointed a sub-optimal service provider.
- Consider what tech might be outdated. If you already have a replacement schedule and budget, bring any outdated tech forward within the next six months and replace it in the move. Plan for effective business functionality in the new space. A tech inventory should show both efficiency and the ability to accommodate short term – and better yet, long term – future growth.
- What system upgrades should you plan for and can your new premises accommodate them? Assuming there’s a bit of tech upgrading in the move, don’t merely refurbish existing systems with new hardware. An office move is the ideal time to institute a previously investigated improvement in the way you conduct your business, and that might again involve new software and hardware.
- What downtime can you expect, if any? Are you going to establish a satellite office to cover the day(s) of the move? If not, specific scheduling of when components of your tech leave your original premises will enable you to maintain operations in the morning at the old premises, for example, and continue at the new location by the afternoon.
- Most importantly: Is your data backed up? Whether you’re in the cloud or plan to store backups on owned off-site servers or devices, this is a critical component of a business move. Well before the day arrives, data storage needs to be geared for the move. Quite apart from securing your IP and database(s), easy retrieval of data will be a needed component of the new office seamlessly getting on with business as usual.
Planning is the key
The best tech moves are the result of careful planning. Assemble a small kit of possibly needed supplies that includes extension cables and backup devices where necessary. If your business is particularly intensive on a daily basis, instituting a split-shift among staff, resources and responsibilities can also be a great aid for a seamless move.
The old carpenter’s adage of “measure twice, cut once” holds equally true for a tech move. Resist the temptation to “more or less” have everything down pat. Rather, make sure the process is over-planned, if anything, instead of being vague around the edges.