Successfully Managing Your IT Office Move

When moving to a new office location, your technology must be in place and running smoothly before you’re move is finished. If it’s not, the unexpected downtime can have a costly and disastrous effect on your business. Making sure you understand all aspects of the migration process before you even sign a lease can lead to a smooth transition.

To start, here’s a few of things you should consider when moving your office.

Are there sufficient bandwidth options available in the new building?

You might assume that all of the major internet service providers in your area have high speed internet options in any building you are considering, but if you find out after signing a lease that the building you are moving into only has copper wire coming into the building, you could be left with insufficient internet bandwidth. Worse, you could end up waiting months and months, while paying as much as fifty thousand dollars to have sufficient service brought into the building from the street. Work with your IT services provider to ensure that you can get the bandwidth you need when you move in to your new location.

Is the existing cabling sufficient for your needs and is it actually functional?

This is a big mistake many people make when they walk through an office. Just because you see Ethernet jacks in the walls, doesn’t mean they work, are labeled correctly, or are sufficient for your needs. It is not uncommon for the wall jacks to not have cables attached to them, or for them to have been cut off above the ceiling because someone considered them “unnecessary.” Even if they do work, it is important to make sure that they will support the necessary bandwidth speeds for your business. Most modern businesses require gigabyte network speeds, and if your new location is cabled with Cat5 instead of Cat5e or Cat6, you’ll be out of luck. Have your IT vendor help you figure out how many Ethernet ports you will need at each location within the office, and have them test the existing ports for functionality. If any cabling will need to be done, your IT service provider can give you a cost estimate before you sign the lease and are committed to handing over money you didn’t want to spend.

What other types of specialized work will your move require?

Best practices call for most types of servers to run on their own 30 amp circuit. If you host your own servers, you will need ensure the proper circuits are in place and if not, you will need to know whether or not you can upgrade the electrical circuits to meet your needs. Another thing to consider is whether or not you will need power to odd places throughout the office. Does your business host technology dependent presentations on large screens for your clients in your conference room? Cords hanging down from the wall look sloppy and you may want to have custom outlets placed high in the wall in recesses behind the screen. These types of customization will add to the time and cost of your move. It’s better to know what to plan appropriately than to find out after the fact that your conference room will be down or that you can’t turn your servers on because your electrician is booked out for two months after your move.

What other specialists will need to be involved in your move? A good IT service provider can help you think about these types of things. You may need more than just a low-voltage wiring contractor or an electrician. In the conference room example above, you will also need a person who specializes in hanging large televisions or monitors. Unless they specialize solely in custom office moves or audio/visual setups, this type of specialist probably isn’t something your IT service provider will have on staff. More than likely, they will sub-contract this part of the move out, which adds another element to the planning and budgeting. It is, however, a worthwhile part of the budget. The last thing you need is for thousands of dollars worth of cameras and monitors to come crashing to the floor during an important presentation!

Thirty days is not enough lead-time for your Internet Service Provider/Telecom carrier to schedule your move.

You need to allow 75 days to plan your move with your ISP/Telecom carrier in order to avoid rush fees and other nasty surprises. The more complicated your needs, the more time you’ll want to allow for the move.

Never assume third parties such as ISP’s and Telecom companies will execute on time and as promised.

All logic dictates that this is the ONE thing that you should be able to count on during your move, right? Wrong. What’s more, the larger the vendor, the more you can count on them messing things up.

Whenever possible, order overlapping services and request installation dates well ahead of your actual move. This will give you time to reschedule the installation when your ISP sends out a technician who is only certified to install copper-over-Ethernet when you ordered fiber. I wish I was joking when I say that this or similar problems, have actually happened on every single office migration I have been a part of. Unfortunately, I am not.

Back it up. Twice.

Another bad office move assumption is that all of your equipment that you powered down and boxed up at old office will automatically power back up and run smoothly at your new office. Remember, accidents happen. Equipment can be dropped, bumped, or accidentally jostled, during transit. Having a current backup can make these worst-case scenarios less impactful. Best practices dictate that you have two separate backups

While you’re at it, make sure that you either write down (on an actual piece of paper) or have a copy of all your important login credentials on a device such as your smart phone or tablet. Your servers and workstations won’t be powered on, making it difficult to get this information if you need it.

Review your infrastructure requirements and your IT/Telecom service agreements.

Best practices state that an office move is the perfect time to upgrade any legacy hardware, as well as review and makes changes to your IT related service contracts.

Many people feel that managing their office migration is something they can do on their own, and the fact that you’re reading this article is a good indicator that you might be one of those people that can pull it off. That being said, the technology portion of your move is something worth having your IT service provider do for you. It’s their job to think of all the little details that must go off without a hitch to make your move a success. Furthermore, Teleco’s and ISP’s can tell when professional project management is being taken advantage of and are more likely to put their best people on your project. You wouldn’t go to court and try to talk to a judge without your lawyer, right? You don’t want to try and talk to your ISP without your IT professional, either.

If you have any questions about how to accomplish any of your office move related goals, contact one of our account representatives today.