By Robert May, Managing Director of ramsac
It is widely recognised that moving house can be one of the most stressful events in one’s personal life. And so in one’s business life, moving office is potentially up there as a highly stressful event for all involved too. However, with careful planning this can be mitigated and it can also give a ‘blank slate’ with which to help businesses improve their infrastructure and continue to thrive and grow.
Moving office can mean facing many of the same challenges as setting up in the first place. This is in no small part due to the technical considerations needed to move a fully functioning IT and communications system to a new location whilst creating a minimum of fuss for the business. To address this, ramsac uses a comprehensive plan to move clients’ IT and communications networks between offices and it is based on nearly 20 years’ worth of experience in making it as stress-free as possible.
Failing to fully plan for an office move can have dire consequences. The worst-case scenario is that the business effectively comes to halt as it struggles to re-establish key systems and consequently loses money and reputation in the eyes of its clients and partners. In the 21st century it is simply not acceptable to suffer such failures, with the competition more than willing to take up the slack and win over dissatisfied customers. But even small inconvenient delays can cause problems that can take weeks if not months to overcome — something which is potentially ruinous, especially in these cautious economic times.
It’s therefore vital to plan for all aspects of IT and communications when carrying out the relocation of an office. ramsac’s ‘Office move — IT checklist’ covers broad areas such as ‘Internet service provider’, ‘The server room’, ‘PCs, Laptops & printers’ and ‘Telephone system & other IP based services’ in fine detail to help companies formulate a comprehensive plan to ensure key office systems don’t get overlooked during what can be a highly complicated procedure. It’s vital for business leaders to ensure they are fully aware of the systems and IT functions that need to be considered during the office move.
Modern business systems also now often incorporate remote access requirements as well as those directly in the office environment. Any disruption is likely to have wide-ranging consequences and major parts of the network, such as servers (especially in the case of email or web servers) and the telephone system need particular consideration. However, sometimes it can be the smallest things that can cause headaches, such as updating the address details on web pages and email signatures, or making sure there are the right number and type of power points and network connections in the new office to meet the needs of your IT infrastructure.
An office move can also be a good excuse to re-evaluate your office systems and, if possible, invest in new solutions to assist the business - a good example being the telephone system. You need to think about the age of your current system - if it’s based on traditional RJ11 telephone cabling then moving the system will usually involve extensive additional cabling work. Although traditional systems are usually highly reliable, there is little redundancy, so a failure will usually take down the entire system. A new unified communications telephone network will utilise the same cabling infrastructure as your computer network, so no additional cabling is required. The PC connects via the telephone, so only one cable run is required per user, rather than two with a traditional system, potentially saving up to £100 per user in cabling costs alone. The money that would have been spent re-locating the old system can be put towards the cost of a new system, which will provide you with a whole host of additional benefits.
Undoubtedly moving office is a time-consuming and complicated task. But whilst it is easy to dwell on potential problems it is more productive to view it as an opportunity to make sure the infrastructure is well organised and suitable for purpose. However, it is vital to understand how crucial comprehensive planning is to the operation and where appropriate, it is worth getting professional help for key stages. Essentially the old adage applies: ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’.
For a free copy of ramsac’s ‘Office move — IT checklist’ please go to http://www.ramsac.com/strategic-consultancy/office-relocations.html