Moving your business?
Businesses faced with moving offices have much to consider in their planning. The important thing to remember is such a move must be carried out with little or no interruption to the operation. How is this achievable when there is technology involved? It’s not just a matter of unplugging and plugging in again at the new premises. Things can and do go wrong. The phone and internet services can be lost for days, data can go missing and valuable equipment can get lost in transit.
We have moved dozens of complex businesses into new premises without a hitch, so we thought we’d share how we go about it. The information below focuses on the IT components of a business but can be applied to many other departments as well.
A move should be seamless.
Keep in mind that after a move, your employees should be able to walk in and resume their duties as if nothing has happened. In other words, everything should be in working order and in its place. The challenge here is that with so many components to consider, things need to fit back together seamlessly. Clients also will need to see that things are ‘business as usual’ to keep a professional face to the business operation. And moving offices is not like moving house. There’s no time to unpack. Everything has to be put in its place right away to be ready for the next business day.
Give attention to detail.
Remember that the smallest item can be the most important. I had a friend that was in the business of moving very expensive cars across the country. He told me about one move where the car got there without its keys. Needless to say, the client was not very happy.
Time is of the essence.
How much valuable time can you afford to waste because of a move? Any business knows that time is of the essence when it comes to any interruptions to their operation. Clients don’t tolerate long-winded ‘time outs’ when it comes to dealing with you. They will find it much easier to go to your competitor for their services. Lost clients equal a loss in profits. Furthermore, you will be paying wages to your waiting staff, sidelined while the move is taking place. Such lost productivity can be costly in many other ways as well.
It’s all in the planning.
Moving offices must be properly planned. If not, things can go astray very quickly, causing preventable delays to the resumption of business. For example, one of our clients had a new office manager who did not know about a cancelled phone service. She sent us the wrong phone bill and we were unable to get the account details we needed to for porting. Had we relied on her, the business would have experienced significant delays in reconnecting their phone services. Fortunately, we had the foresight to communicate with the phone company prior to the move and get the information we needed for things to run smoothly.
First thing’s first.
Some clients decide to combine a move with other projects, like adding servers, moving internet or phone providers or adding new services. While it can be advantageous to synchronize another project with a move, it does add an element of risk to the execution. For example, a medical office was moving and decided to change their internet and phone provider at the same time. On top of all this, they decided to add hosted VOIP. The timing and management of the installation of the new lines, transfer of the old ones, porting of the phones, configuration of the hosed VOIP solution and special consideration of the fax (HIPAA compliance risk) all took on more importance. So remember first thing’s first when possible and rely on experience and planning before taking on more than you can handle at one time.
Don’t get unstuck.
The German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke said that “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” The same can be said for a move. There have been many times that we have taken over a small account with one or two servers that have not been moved or even touched for some time. You can tell because they have that nice ‘protective’ layer of dust on it and no fingerprints. I think there must be some special duct tape like quality to dust that just keeps everything stuck together and working. But disturbing this magic dust angers the dust fairy and to show her displeasure she crashes the computer. So take precautionary measures. Make sure you have a good backup, do a test restart and have a documented plan B for every possible scenario.