Moving office is a complex and time-consuming process that, if properly managed, can provide your organisation with more than just a new office – it can give you a better way of working. Your IT infrastructure forms a crucial part of this process, so how can you ensure you get it right?
The decision to move office is not taken lightly. Start-to-finish, the process can take major enterprises anywhere between 12 months and six years of careful planning and management. Apple’s move to its new Apple Park campus, for example, took over six years while UBS’ move to its new London office took around the same time and was coupled with a 12-weekend project that saw some 5,600 employees move into their new space.
You may think that a relocation is just about changing where you work, but it’s about so much more. By taking a little time and effort, it’s an opportunity to transform how you work too. There are few areas in your business where this transformation will have a larger impact than your IT. Modernising key systems, processes and infrastructure makes your staff more productive, your technology more cost-effective and your business more responsive. This ultimately helps IT to add more value to your business, which is what we’d all like at the end of the day.
Of course, taking on large-scale move projects doesn’t come without risk. This is why we’ve put together a list of the five biggest mistakes you should avoid when moving your IT to your new office.
1. Not conducting a thorough audit
It may sound obvious, but if you fail to take stock of what you’ve got then you aren’t going to be able to account for it later. Conducting a thorough audit is one of the most important steps you can take as it will help you understand the true size and scale of your network and show you the status of every device. Taking shortcuts will only create a recipe for disaster later on.
It’s also important to consider the lifecycle of your equipment and understand your contractual obligations – especially for services that you cannot move with you such as internet connectivity. Afraid it will take too long? There are network monitoring and product lifecycle tools that can help.
2. Not properly scoping your project
Your existing IT systems will be heavily entrenched in your day-to-day operations, so it may be tempting for you to leave them alone, but just because your existing setup is functional doesn’t mean it’s ‘right’. If your staff are complaining about slow network speeds, or your customers about siloed communications, the chances are that productivity is suffering.
It’s also the perfect time to think about the tasks that your IT team are undertaking on a regular basis and ask yourself: Are there better ways of doing these? Making your day-to-day tasks more efficient allows you to free up limited but valuable resource for larger scale projects.
By listening to the needs of key stakeholders, you’ll be surprised to find problems you didn’t even know existed. Discuss these with your IT provider so they can recommend solutions.
3. Not getting properly connected
With the proliferation of SaaS, colocation and hybrid networks it’s clear that a large proportion of your business will be based in the cloud. Couple this with your growing number of wireless devices and you begin to see the importance of installing the right connectivity into and around your new office.
It’s crucial that you don’t leave your connectivity as an afterthought; though you’ll be surprised how many project managers do. Failure to research the types of connectivity available at your new site, or to spec what you need correctly, can result in staff spending more time admiring the décor than actually working. Be sure to think about the devices you have, the tools you use, and of course the lead times for new services.
4. Keeping your old, failing IT equipment
Not all assets should be sweated, so moving them wherever you go might not get you far. Thankfully you have a range of options available; for equipment you’d like to keep you can opt for the ‘my kit, your place’ flexibility of colocation, if you wish to retire equipment you can put your IT in the cloud, or if you wish to blend both then hybrid networking is both a popular option.
If your applications are in the cloud already it’s unlikely they’ll require any change, while cloud ready applications can be moved into a ‘public cloud’ with minimal effort. Not all of your applications will be cloud ready, but this doesn’t mean they have to stay on-premises; instead, you can move them into your own ‘private cloud’ environment at a hosted data centre.
These approaches help save physical space, extend the lifecycle of your equipment and are cost-effective.
5. Not keeping your house in order
The final hurdle is always the most difficult. Even if you’ve performed your due diligence and finalised your connectivity and infrastructure, poor project management can undo all this work and, in the worst case, lead to delays or lengthy downtime.
When it comes to preventing this, partnering with an IT provider with experience of managing office moves is key, as they will be able to walk through your move project with you and help you avoid any potential stumbling points along the way.
IT relocation services from ONI
Your moving process may seem complex and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools, partners and planning, the move to your new space can be a breeze. ONI has extensive experience in scoping and managing office moves, so you’re in safe hands.
Like to find out more about how to manage your IT office move project? Download our Best Practice Guide.