IT Relocation Tips: How SMEs Should Plan for the Transition | Firstline IT
Moving offices is often a result of business growth, especially when the new premises offers more space, an improved location, and a more comfortable working environment.
That said, the process of relocating offices can be disruptive – taking roughly 1 week per 1,000 sq ft of office space! If IT relocation isn’t planned well in advance, this can lead to downtime and a dip in productivity (and therefore revenue). In fact, a massive 78% of businesses delay moving because of the disruption it might cause.
According to a recent survey by Clutch, respondents cited increased distraction and loss of productivity as two of the top challenges of office relocation. Among the challenges, probably the biggest is ensuring that all IT and communications infrastructure stays intact for as long as possible.
Whether you have an internal IT department or outsource to a Managed IT provider, your SME needs a robust plan for IT relocation. So, we’re brought together some top IT relocation tips so that your move runs smoothly, securely and effectively, so that you stay in businesses throughout.
IT Relocation for SMEs: it’s worth it in the long run
In spite of the disruption an office move might cause, relocation can make sense for the future success of an SME. Business owners need to make this decision weighing up the risks involved against the improved production, staff satisfaction and business opportunity in the long run.
So, whether office relocation is worth the disruption is entirely dependent on the needs and priorities of each business. That said, even the most complex office move can be made smoother with careful planning, especially if it’s done with the help of an IT relocation specialist.
7 IT relocation tips to keep you on track
1. Start with a thorough site visit
An essential step in your IT relocation is visiting your new site. Ideally, your IT provider (or internal IT resource) should join you on this visit, so you can get a full picture of how your IT relocation process should work.
During this visit, you’ll need to consider:
- The existing network and telephony ports – what can stay, and what needs to be moved.
- The ideal locations of each workstation, power and network cabling points and hardware (e.g. printers, scanners, photocopiers, routers etc).
Once you’ve assessed the space, you can now work on your configuration plan.
2. Draw up a checklist
Once you’ve carried out your site visit, you’ll be able to write a detailed plan and checklist, so you don’t forget any important tasks. Brainstorm all the aspects of your IT relocation, and assign a person responsible and a timeline.
At this point, it’s also worth checking the building’s Wifi has enough coverage for your team.
3. Carry out an IT audit
Start by drawing up an inventory list of all your IT equipment. You can use this to identify what equipment needs replacing or upgrading so that you can order new hardware in advance.
Carry out a services inventory list, identify all ISP and Telecoms contracts, and terminate any unwanted contracts.
4. Identify gaps in IT equipment or services that need to be filled
The new site may now have the cabling and infrastructure you need, so you need to plan ahead what new provisions to install. Think about the number of phone lines you need, how many cables and what sort, and how many new power outlets are required.
You’ll also need to ensure you get in touch with your new service providers to ensure your new internet and telecoms will be set up and ready in time.
5. Keep lines of communication open
Around two months before the move date, contact all your ISPs and carriers to inform them of your move date. Make sure you keep them updated if the move date changes.
Prepare all your employees for the move, letting them know exactly what steps they need to take to ensure they remain as productive as possible throughout the transition and ensure that everything is ready in time.
The benefit of relocating with an IT provider is that they will have more clout with providers like Virgin Media and BT Openreach to ensure that everything is installed and ready in time.
6. Ensure your data and equipment is secure and safe in transit
The physical transportation of your equipment needs special handling and transit protection. Ideally, a dedicated IT support provider will take care of this aspect of the move, but if you’re relying on your general moving company to do this, make sure they’re able to move electronic equipment safely.
That said, it’s wise to prepare for the worst and backup all your data prior to moving day (including firewalls and servers), and transport copies of your data backup independently to the new location. Make sure that whatever happens, full recovery is possible with an IT disaster recovery plan.
7. Hire an expert IT relocation provider
Office relocation is stressful, no matter how well you plan for it.
An IT relocation provider will:
- Liaise with your broadband and telecom providers to ensure the right lines are in place at the right time.
- Create your relocation plan and help you stick to it.
- Advise you on the new premises you’re considering, and go with you on-site visits to assess the location.
- Help you with the practical transit of your systems to the new site.
- Configure all your equipment at the new site.
Things to do After Relocation
As soon as you’ve made the transition to your new office, there are a few things to take care of right away.
First of all, request an engineer visit on day one to attend to any post-configuration issues.
Ideally, your IT support provider will be with you on day one, so they’ll be able to help you run some checks to make sure everything’s in good working order:
- Check all cabling and hardware are both in the right place and working properly.
- Check servers and network capability.
- Check that emails are being sent and received.
- Check all phone numbers and their locations.
- Test the phone system.
- Check call-forwarding is working from the old phone number to the new.
- Test each network connection.
- Check your website, intranet and extranet where applicable.
Getting feedback from your employees might save you a lot of time testing every last system in the office. Find out what’s working well, what’s not, and identify any gaps in functionality. After all, they’re using the equipment day-to-day, so if they’re not happy with the IT, you can address that immediately.
SMEs looking to make the move to a new office will be doing so for good reason: extra space, an improved location, better working environment. Whatever the reasoning, business owners will have to weigh up the benefits of the relocation against potential pitfalls in the move.
A smooth transition of IT systems will be down to good forward planning, open lines of communication and prioritising the data safety and security throughout the transition.
But, given the inevitable stress involved in IT relocation, it makes sense for SMEs to outsource IT relocation to a dedicated IT Support company. They’ll help you plan and carry out the transition both saving you time juggling the moving parts but reducing the risk of data loss, downtime and reduced productivity as a result of your relocation.