IT Services and Office Moves – how to manage them successfully in your business

Introduction
Moving offices can be one of the biggest challenges for a business. Periods of IT downtime and potential security issues are often the business owner’s greatest fears when moving offices. Long time Glade Creek Technology client, Edge Professional Services, have recently been faced with this challenge. Margaret Neal, Director of Operations, was delighted that the total downtime on the day of the move was less than 4 hours, “I had heard such terrible stories and although we had planned everything, I was still a little worried! I needn’t have been, a combination of good planning from Jon and timely client communication by us, meant that our business was not affected at all”. So what goes into a well planned office move in terms of IT?

Review of Current System and Equipment
Planning is important for all aspects of an office move, IT is no exception. Jon Pollock recommends an overview of the existing IT system and equipment as it stands prior to the move. “An office move presents its issues, and it’s important to establish a comprehensive inventory and operational baseline so that all parties have clear expectations. While it’s important to keeps changes to a minimum during this period of upheaval, prior to the move is an ideal time to explore how Cloud technology may help to expedite the process.”
Managing the move for an existing client is obviously more straightforward as Glade Creek already understands the existing systems. In the cases of new clients a full review is undertaken at the outset the project, but otherwise both the planning and process are very similar.

Review of New Space
One reason why the move for Edge Professional Services was so successful was that Glade Creek were involved from the very beginning of the process. In fact the best time to involve an IT professional is at the planning phase while the architect is still drafting plans for the electrical, cabling, and HVAC requirements. At this stage the IT specialist can negotiate knowledgably with vendors, make sure they aren’t adding on extras, and ensure that prices fall in line with industry standards. Many business owners don’t have knowledge about these issues. Jon Pollock comments, “On a project quite recently, I was present when a cabling vendor tried to sell a 25 year protection insurance on the cabling; this is frankly ridiculous and totally unnecessary.” Involving your IT professional from the start helps cover the basics such as; are there enough power and network outlets, is there an appropriate space for equipment, will new cabling be required and so on. Getting these type of requirements sorted long before the move date plays an essential role in the smooth running of the move.

In the case of Edge Professional Services, Glade Creek worked closely with the architect, electrical, and mechanical engineers from the very beginning. Says Jon, “We had to redesign the layout of the kitchen to achieve the space necessary in the server room, and we paid special attention to the water pipes coming in to that area to minimize damage to servers in the event of a leak.” Planning the electrical and cooling loads requires intimate knowledge of the equipment that will be used on day one, as well as likely upgrades in the future. Just as important are the physical requirements of such a room; such as how much space to leave around various pieces of equipment to allow for maintenance and replacements. According to Jon, “The functional workflow of a server room is often forgotten. Attention to details like that provides a polished end result.”

Upgrades and Cloud Technology
Moving to Cloud technology makes sense for most businesses and prior to an office move is a great time to make the transition to minimize downtime.

Read more about the benefits of Cloud Services here

Key Tips for Move Day
Team work and communication between client company staff and the IT services team is obviously crucial. “I prefer to work directly with the members of staff managing the move, I know what we need to do in terms of IT and I can make sure that everything is done if I have regularly direct communication. I can also often help with other aspects of the move such as telephone systems etc.” Jon Pollock.

For Edge, it was important that management knew what impact to expect on IT system availability so it could be communicated to staff and customers. Having a well-documented plan on move day was important so everyone knew what to be doing. Knowing, at any given point, were we were in the timeline provided a sense of organization and peace of mind for all involved.

Conclusion