An office migration is a logistical nightmare no matter what, but especially for IT departments. If the information technology networks, systems or vendors run into snags, business can come to a grinding halt.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon in even a moderately well-planned migration for everyone to show up on Monday and have the services they need to do their jobs not quite ready. Being even half a day off schedule can dramatically affect an organization as a whole, including the company’s bottom line. Sales organizations, especially, just cannot afford downtime during an IT migration.
Proper planning, in advance, with contingencies built in is essential to constructing and implementing a migration that remains on track, on time and on budget. Here are the three decisions you need to carefully consider and put in place before the migration begins in earnest to tip the odds of success in your favor.
Are our network design and data backup systems good enough?
Deciding whether you want to move the existing network as-is or implement changes is the big question that needs to be answered first. Changes to your network design is a delicate undertaking while business is active. There is always a risk that the changes will cause problems leading to downtime, so many companies’ piggyback adjustments or updates to these mission critical systems during an office migration. It’s much easier to add new technology and equipment before you’re back online. Some questions to ask might include:
- What is the age of your current equipment and is it still under a service contract?
- Do you have equipment that is suitable for today’s needs? How about tomorrow’s?
- Does (and will) your data backup solution meet your evolving business objectives?
- Have there been changes in technology that might offer additional advantages?
- Is your printing network as streamlined and efficient as it could be?
What are the new infrastructure and bandwidth requirements?
Here, again, you want to make sure the system you implement in the new office will support your company’s growth plan. Establish and plan for the requirements of the new space that includes everything from the physical space for tech resources to the material and connectivity needs of each area and the office as a whole.
- How many employees need to be supported at open, in one year, in five years?
- Is there a new need for additional technology such as video conferencing or interactive projectors?
- What kind of data cabling do you want/need?
- What kind of wireless access do you need?
- Are there peak periods and what network speed/bandwidth will ensure continual uptime?
- Should you switch old telephone systems (which require additional hardware, cabling and service) to a new IP-Voice or cloud-based solution?
Is there a timeline that is universally practical and feasible?
The ultimate goal, of course, is to complete an office migration seamlessly, without unscheduled downtime, and with as little impact on the working lives of the company either in part or in whole. The schedule should take into account the different needs of each business unit within the organization. For example, maybe the sales cycle ramps up at the end of the month. If so, you don’t want to schedule the move at the end of the month as you could affect the sales team’s ability to complete sales transactions.
- Meet with each business unit lead
- Map your findings
- Get unit leads to sign off on the final timeline plan before it is finalized
What type of skills are required to complete the job?
Building the correct team shouldn’t be downplayed. Once you’ve answered the questions above, you’ll have a clear picture of what type of skill sets are required to complete the migration. Maybe you need people with skills related to a particular equipment vendor. If you’ll be building or making changes to the infrastructure, you’ll need team members that can install the new power cabling and racks.
In the end, you may have some of what you need in-house, but more likely than not, you’ll need to augment your staff with additional skilled engineers and IT specialists. While managing an internal team plus potentially various consulting and/or local teams is doable, consider assessing the ROI of hiring a team of field engineering and logistics specialists to staff, manage and guide the office migration process.