First Line managed an office move for the Institute of Customer Service, handling all the technical requirements from broadband to telecoms.

The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) is the independent, professional membership body for customer service. It helps its members to improve their customers’ experience and their own business performance.

Office Move Solutions

First Line IT has worked with ICS for many years, supporting its IT systems and helping individual users. But when ICS announced that it was moving to a new central London office, they called on a different aspect of First Line’s expertise – the ability to mastermind the complicated arrangements behind sourcing and installing new IT systems, broadband services, and telecoms systems in time for the office opening.

For Operations Director John Crozier and Technical Director Nim Nagalingam this meant creating a detailed project plan – and then making sure it was backed up with an equally detailed Plan B.

The first step in the plan, as with every office move, was to line up the suppliers for both broadband and telecoms services, and ensure that they had to time to arrange everything. Leased Line providers, for example, usually insist on 90 days’ notice. This was potentially a problem for ICS, who only had two months’ notice of their move. ‘Theoretically there was no way that ICS would be able to move in two months,’ said John. ‘However, they had no choice, so we planned a project that meant that, come hell or high water, they would be operational in their new building on move day.’

Leased Line

For example, they placed an order for a leased line as soon as possible, giving the supplier the maximum amount of time to appoint a surveyor and arrange for a site survey. However, as the project progressed, it became clear that this supplier was not going to move fast enough. So the team placed another order with a more aggressive supplier to get the clock ticking.

But, even with this new supplier, John and Nim were worried that they would be working too close to the wire. So they decided to install some temporary copper lines and an ADSL connection, just in case. ‘We needed to make sure that ICS could still move, and that they would still be able to function when they had moved, even if the leased line wasn’t completely ready,’ said Nim.

In the event, it wasn’t ready, but ICS’s customers would never have known, as staff were able to keep communicating for two days on the old-fashioned copper lines.

Telephone Systems

They planned a similar overlapping system for the new telephones. ICS wanted to take their telephone numbers with them when they moved, which normally entails a nail-biting process of allowing the phone company to disconnect your old line before connecting your new line in your new premises. First Line avoided that by installing a new system in the new building and connecting it with a temporary number. When it came to move day, it was therefore quite easy for the telephone company to switch the number from the old system to the new.

ICS had given First Line responsibility for handling the whole of the technical side of the move, but this didn’t mean that they stopped taking an interest themselves. ‘We spoke on the phone every day, and ICS were always up-to-date with what was happening,’ said John. ‘They trusted us to make the right decisions, but they still needed to know what was going on. This was especially the case with the broadband, as it was going to be very noticeable to staff that it wasn’t as fast as they were used to. However, they knew what was happening, they understood why, and therefore they were happy to work with it for the two days before the leased line kicked in.’