Relocation, Relocation, Relo...Don't Forget the ICT
Essential guide to moving offices
Office relocation projects are filled with months of meetings among senior staff, all strategising with each other’s requirements to ensure a smooth transition from the old office to the shiny new one. It’s an opportunity to take stock of the growth and success of the business and to ‘discover’ the old, forgotten boxes of clutter (Nokia 3310 power cables, potentially damaging former staff photos, etc.)
For IT bods this could be a time of great pleasure mixed with frustration. For smaller organisations, without the IT staff available, it can look like a wiring diagram for Hinkley Point, an unfriendly landscape when all you want are the computers and telephones to work.
Your business will surely place a high value on the connections to the outside world such as internet and telephone connections. It seems strange that it doesn’t get much consideration until late in the process, but here are a few things to consider:
Are your telephone numbers transferable?
Prior to the ubiquitous deployment of VoIP this was still rarely considered before the last minute. Geographic area was considered the predominant factor in whether or not a number could be retained; that is, if you were relocating nearby it was likely you could keep the number. Whilst now having the ability to port numbers has been made much easier due to the ability to port these onto SIP platforms, there are areas in the UK (namely South West and North East) where internet speeds are still so slow as to make this a potentially dangerous decision. Check with your provider as early as possible, and ask specifically about the retention of your telephone number.
Are your timescales realistic?
Have you given enough time for all of your services to be installed? Here’s a quick guide:
- PSTN lines take 2 – 4 weeks to install
- ISDN2 lines take 3 – 6 weeks to install
- ISDN30 lines take 4 – 8 weeks to install
- ADSL and generic Fibre broadband take 1 – 4 weeks to (+3-8 weeks for the PSTN)
- Fibre Leased Line, EFM, FTTC circuits – 6-16 weeks (subject to survey and possible delays)
Are you aware of which services are available at your new location?
It can often be surprising the lack of services that are available even in what would be perceived highly connected business areas. In a previous report by Ofcom it was highlighted that almost half of all businesses surveyed on business parks were unable to access speeds above 10Mbps.
It may be worth considering cloud services to provide more flexibility and keep data and telephony available throughout the move process.
The cyber security consideration
It seems impossible to write an article on IT and communications without a mention of cyber security and a move is as good a reason as any other to consider your vulnerabilities in this regard.
Cable for the future
Take into account every last detail you will need for your new requirements: all computer and phone points, copiers, PoS equipment, Screens or TV’s, interactive boards, video and audio conferencing – then double it. As labour is a large portion of the costs of cabling you’ll only pay for that once by installing more sockets than required, and if history has been any sign of what’s to come you’ll be happy you sorted this now.
Take your wireless network with you
Is your existing wireless network sufficiently supporting your business? If so, you may be able to take it with you. There may not be a requirement for replacing still good kit, and unlike cabling, the majority of wireless cost is in the hardware.
Plan the details
Understand early what your requirements will be and how long it will take to implement. Have these conversations with your provider(s) as early as possible. You may need to account for multiple providers to oversee parts of the project such as cabling, telephone lines, internet, telephone system, Wi-Fi, Server and switch infrastructure, etc.
Finding the right ICT provider
If you are lucky enough to have a provider that can look after multiple aspects of your office move it will greatly reduce the amount of stress that you experience. As an example, Taurus Clearer Communication deliver a large part of an office move including internet access, cabling, Wi-Fi, network infrastructure, telephone provision on a traditional platform, hosted VoIP or any mix in between. The ability to have an organisation that can liaise with your electrician, plasterer and office refitters can be invaluable.