With the walls down, and the network gear coming online at our new facility, it seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect on how moving has changed over the last decade.
While historically my involvement in move planning has been limited to the transition of IT related infrastructure, over the last several years my role has moved far beyond the details of moving IT equipment specifically and increasingly on full organization move planning. I would love to tell you this is because of the fantastic work I do, which I’m sure is true , but primarily it is because of the increasing importance of technology in almost every aspect of running a business. Technology is now key to everything a business does; from physical facility access to managing sales funnels and phone queue’s to everything in between.
The most basic elements are usually the physical requirements of a new space, including rack space, power, and cooling in a server room, to wiring and network drops for desks or phones, and often network and power integration into ever more technologically-oriented office furniture. Historically the biggest problem with these considerations tends to be management of all the different suppliers who refuse to interact and often don’t play well together. The timing of each, and making sure they are on the same page, can be especially difficult if you are looking to do anything outside the norm or try to make the move transparent to customers, suppliers and staff.
In the “good old days” delays or issues in moving technology infrastructure might have meant that the organization was likely still operational although perhaps not as efficient. With a failure of technology, the fax machine might be busy sending out quotes or orders, the courier was delivering pre-printed marketing collateral, and support staff were referring to the filing cabinet for account details or old quotes.
Roll forward 5 or 10 years and the same type of outage results in the business coming to a standstill – in many cases staff are simply sent home while technology is brought online. In an office of 10+ staff the costs of wasted salaries alone is quickly astounding. Missed sales opportunities and client requests going unfulfilled brings potential losses, not to mention possible liability or the possibility of long term damage to the business which is unacceptable.
With the costs of failure so high, it is hard to imagine how management often fails to see the biggest risk; in-house IT staff and IT managers who rarely have experience with moves. Even an experienced IT person may have only been involved in one move during their career and this is not a recipe for success. But even those executives smart enough to bring in an experienced project manager to plan their move, are often working against tight timelines and with contractors who have little incentive to deliver beyond their piece of the larger picture.
Luckily for the modern business manager, another trend has been quickly moving through the business community. This trend is of using hosted solutions for vital business operations. Key business features like CRM or ERP platforms , email or groupware hosting and of course business phones and phone lines have moved to hosted platforms or the “cloud” where IT staff are responsible for getting to the service but not keeping it running.
Just how much easier is moving a hosted service? My third post will look at some of the move options and how some of our staff are already working from our new location – even before our server rack, printers or other gear have made the move.