Your Move: Considerations for Relocating a Business

atlantic-it-movingMoving your company to a new facility can be an exciting time, bringing opportunities to improve and advance the business. However, it can also be extremely challenging — mental-health professionals say moving is usually one of the most stressful events we’ll ever encounter, ranking just behind the death of a loved one and a divorce.

A key to reducing that stress is getting a trusted IT solutions provider involved early in the planning process.

A well-conceived plan for relocating voice and data systems is essential for ensuring a move is completed on time, within budget and with minimal disruption to staff and operations. However, the scope and complexity of such a project can quickly overwhelm your staff, who are likely very busy just trying to keep up with their day-to-day responsibilities.

Your IT provider can be a valuable resource — IF they have the knowledge and expertise to handle a relocation project. Unless your provider has specific experience with such projects, they may not be prepared for some of the unique challenges.

A qualified provider must have experience working with multiple vendors and a variety oftechnology platforms. They also must understand cabling, power and connectivity requirements — and have the capacity to properly schedule, install and test everything to ensure functionality before the go-live date.

Most experts say the planning process should ideally begin at least three months in advance of the expected relocation. Anything short of that often creates issues in three particular areas —network cabling, Internet service and phone systems.

Cabling is often an afterthought when companies relocate, frequently resulting in daisy-chained power cables and patch cords, improperly spliced wires and a rat’s nest of cables that can cause serious performance issues. Research has shown that up to 50 percent of all network problems are related to network cabling.

Too often, organizations ask their electrical contractor to pull network cabling along with other wiring. That’s a mistake that could bring your operations to a grinding halt. You need to work with a provider who understands cabling codes and standards, different types of cabling systems, and proper design and installation practices.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) typically require at least 30 days’ notice for bringing a new location online, and some may require 60 days. You’ll need even more time if you’re changing providers. Your current ISP may not serve your new location. Even if it does, a move can be agood time to evaluate whether a new provider can deliver improved service, support and functionality.

A relocation is also a good time to review your phone system. Aging analog systems may no longer deliver the functionality you need, and could be prone to failure. Today’s IP phone systems and unified communications platforms offer a powerful array of productivity and collaboration features. If it is time to migrate to a new system, do your research to identify business goals, user needs and network requirements.

Even if you are simply relocating an existing system, moving a phone system is a complicated exercise. The physical layout of a new office may require some redesign and reprogramming of the existing system. A qualified IT provider can work with vendors to identify such issues,coordinate the transfer and set up of your system, and work with a telecom provider to transfer service.

Moving may be stressful, but planning and forethought can help ease the process of relocating your essential technology infrastructure. If an office relocation project is your horizon, contact Atlantic-IT.net and let us help you create a plan that avoids some common pitfalls.