IT is complicated. Business relocation is complicated. Put the two together and… well, you can guess. But with so much of your business relying on IT, it’s crucial you thoroughly plan your IT relocation so you can move to a new facility without disruption. Here are the nine steps to a relatively stress-free IT relocation:
Step 1: Establish Your Goals
Like any business initiative, your IT relocation should have specific goals and KPIs to help you make decisions, manage resources and measure success. That’s because an IT relocation isn’t just a matter of moving equipment from Point A to Point B: it’s a matter of keeping the business operating while preparing it for the future. Look at the reason the business is moving. Is the company growing? Perhaps your equipment needs an upgrade to handle scalability. For many companies, a relocation is a good opportunity to assess current equipment and processes to see what needs to be upgraded, replaced or installed from scratch.
Step 2: Identify an IT Relocation Leader
Imagine taking on every possible IT task all at once. That’s what an IT relocation is like. Your team will have to oversee new wiring, new equipment, new systems, new vendors and new networks. Oh, and that’s all on top of doing their regular work of supporting the business at your current location. You should assign an internal IT relocation manager to work with IT and telecom vendors, equipment providers, construction contractors and the moving company to ensure everything is installed and working without business disruption.
Step 3: Give Yourself Time
You’re used to last-minute IT emergencies and working under the gun. But when it comes to a business relocation, nothing happens at the last minute. It can take 90-120 days just to install circuits, connect equipment and test everything. Factor in time for selecting vendors, establishing goals and making decisions, and your IT relocation can easily take six months or more.
Step 4: Establish Your Needs
Take inventory of your equipment now and consider your needs for the future. You can then work with a managed services provider (MSP) to make certain you have the right services and equipment installed in the new location. By using a hosted server or communications solution, you can actually save yourself the cost of transporting and reinstalling legacy equipment or the capital expenditures of buying new equipment.
Step 5: Select A Provider
Once you’ve determined your needs, you’ll want to partner with an IT provider as soon as possible. They will work with you to understand your needs, create a plan and organize your installation. If you’re upgrading from an on-premises system to a cloud-based system, you’ll be able to move your data and communications to their server while letting them handle IT support, giving you one less thing to worry about. An added bonus: a hosted solution like UCx will let your staff work remotely during the move, minimizing business disruptions even further.
Step 6: Conduct A Site Visit
Time to get your hands dirty. You will need to conduct a site visit at the new location to evaluate wiring, cables, wall outlets, server room locations and other infrastructure issues. Even if your new location had a previous tenant, their needs may have been very different than yours, so you can’t take for granted that it’s move-in ready. Your vendor will also need to know where you would like your circuit installed. In addition, work with the architect/space planner to know where desks, working areas, printers and copiers will be to ensure the proper location of power jacks, telephone and network cabling points.
Step 7: Prepare For The Move
As you near the finish line you’ll need to stay in constant communication with your partners to ensure everyone is in sync. On your end, double check that all data systems are backed up in the event something goes wrong during the move, and store those backups off-site or in the cloud. Determine a contingency plan for use if something goes wrong: for example, a cloud-based communications system will let employees work from home if the move delays the start of business, desks aren’t installed or something major is broken. Coordinate with employees, the movers and installers to ensure equipment is properly shut down, moved to the new location and properly installed in the right place.
Step 8: Test Everything
You already knew this one, didn’t you? You’ll need to test every aspect of your IT and communications systems to ensure there’s no business disruption when employees come in. That means checking all individual phone numbers and every aspect of the phone system. In addition to getting the network running, make sure all your data has successfully migrated, email is working and everyone can connect to the Internet. Plan to have your staff and MSP available on day one to troubleshoot any issues.
Step 9: Celebrate!
Pop some champagne. You deserve it.
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About the Author
Stacey Kendall is a Product Marketing Manager at TPx Communications. Her role is focused on marketing for TPx’s suite of Communications & Collaboration offerings, including the UCx Hosted Unified Communications Service and SmartVoice SIP Trunking. Stacey holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing with a specialization in Information Technology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She resides in the greater Boston area.