Not only stock-based businesses fear a future point when they might have to move to new premises. Even a modest office can spark anxiety when you contemplate not just the physical move, but also disconnecting and relocating your entire IT setup. The thought of disconnecting everything and moving it across town or country can seem positively depressing, particularly for those who’ve attained a smooth flow to their office’s connectivity and overall productivity.
Take heart! Not only does planning go a long way towards making it a rather logical and successful exercise, you’ve also got seasoned IT relocation experts a phone call away. Moving to new premises can be fun if you do your homework and plan ahead.
IT relocation checklist
Whether your IT team consists of one or one hundred people, planning remains common to any IT move. There are a few considerations to remember:
- As you plan the move, logical necessities will arise to keep connected with clients and suppliers. This in turn dictates - to a large extent - what moves when, what goes first, and what needs to go with which IT infrastructure so essential departments experience minimal downtime.
- The moving company or (preferably) specialist movers should be booked in advance to avoid debilitating episodes of vans that fail to arrive or other trauma on the day of the move. Remember: electronic equipment needs specialised packing and handling, so don’t assume the average mover has the expertise needed to preserve your hardware during transit.
- Both staff and customers need to be informed of the pending move. It’s worth taking time to discuss the process with staff, as obvious omissions and potential problems will often be raised in a group, ultimately helping you fine-tune your moving plans. If you’re going to run on limited services for a day or two, nominate one number and one email address to act as a catch-all during the move, if necessary.
- After formulating a detailed and comprehensive plan, review it again the following day with fresh eyes. Make sure precise instructions accommodate every aspect of your IT setup.
Other salient points around IT relocation
- Evaluate your hardware and its overall effectiveness. Moving is an excellent time to let that old server go and replace it or dump that shabby office printer/copier for an upgrade. Indeed, a large part - if not all - of your IT office can be established at the new premises before the move, depending on how much replacing you intend to do. Make a point of visiting the new premises with your IT crew to establish network cabling and wiring necessities, as well as finding out the requirements for the server room.
- Contact your internet service providers (ISP) and other tech/service suppliers to inform them of your move well in advance. Any issues that arise from their side can then be factored into your master plan and resolved ahead of time.
- Make an inventory of all the hardware you own to better understand whether it still meets your working needs. Some items might not be suitable or won’t be able to be physically accommodated at the new location. Factor in proper disposal of computing and other hazardous equipment. Now is a good time to order any equipment you’re buying to replace aging gear. Label all cables, adaptors, and other peripheral items dedicated to your current IT setup to avoid confusion on the other side.
- Evaluate your electricity and communications requirements. It’s easy to become accustomed to your existing setup and assume you’ll find the same on the other side. Look at the simple maths of the new installation, in terms of:
- Whether cabling and other similar infrastructure is sufficient and meets your needs
- The nature of the telecom installations and how many phone lines you need
- Whether electrical outlets are sufficient, or whether an electrician should first upgrade facilities so you don’t struggle with a simple lack of plug-in options. Both electrical and telecom considerations will inform your site inspection with IT, and additional cabling or phone lines can be pre-ordered if they’re found to be insufficient.
As a separate exercise, look over the configuration plan for the new office - either drawn up by yourself, in-house IT, or a specialist IT relocation team - and pinpoint ideal locations for network cabling and power supply based on anticipated workstations.
Of special importance is the server room, as this facility either caters to your server, or it won’t. How many offices have you encountered where the server setup is standing off to one side, wires dangling and lights flashing, because the server room ultimately couldn’t accommodate it? Dimensions, electrical capacity, cooling, and security are prime concerns around the server.
One final important consideration
Before such a wholesale move, make sure you’ve backed up everything. Preferably, several backup copies of everything – apps included - should precede the move.
Backup hardware should be specially transported to the new premises, as any disaster with the movers along the way won’t damage or eliminate your precious data.
Allow staff to finalise their input within their areas of expertise, and give the master plan a final once-over after this liaison, too.
Make printed lists of who’s doing what and their details for move day. Complete all testing before the move –ensure call forwarding is working correctly, anticipated installations are done on time, provide slack in the electrical and general configuration so you can accommodate some tweaks to the plan - and you’re good to go! Of course, the list of who’s doing what can be a lot simpler if you have an experienced IT relocation crew on board. Indeed, with a bit of intelligent forward planning and the right support, moving can be as much fun as finally settling into your new office once it’s all dusted and decorated.