This is the third post in a series outlining Versature’s move.
With the last couple of weeks now a blur in the past and all staff, technology and hardware safely across town, we have overcome the biggest hurdle of our move. With additional changes coming, such as new lighting being installed today, we are still working out the details but well on our way to being settled in our new and larger space.
In my previous post, we explored the common issues with IT staff and moves – specifically that they have little experience planning and orchestrating a successful move especially with high-touch traditional technology infrastructure and the high reliance that today’s business has on it.
With a low tolerance for outages to key services like email and phone service or even basic services like printing, IT staff are under extreme pressure to plan and time all aspects of a move perfectly. With a move most likely to occur on the weekend, there is rarely a second chance to address an unforeseen problem when it involves an outside party such as a business service provider who is unlikely to be available for replacement equipment or even service calls (such as Rogers or Bell Canada booking a technician for the following week). In most cases this also applies to emergency computer or network hardware where suitable replacements or parts need to be shipped on the next business day.
The best way to find solutions to these challenges is to test thoroughly before the move – something that was very difficult before the use of hosted services. For Versature’s move dual internet connections (fiber and cable) were ordered months ahead of time. With a move being a prime opportunity for a network refresh, an updated firewall and network environment (primarily PoE switches and access points) were also purchased and deployed almost a month ahead of the move. This meant that some staff moved weeks before the official move to be involved in the renovation and liaise with other contractors but they didn’t miss a beat being fully connected to our hosted services. This same staff was the best form of testing available – real use.
In awe of this concept, contractors arrived and rarely understood that this staff was working in the same way as they would have been at the then current office. They had their same extensions, email boxes, and access to files. But those of you keeping track at home are correct – they couldn’t print. At least not without driving to pick up the print at the other end of the city.
As the move date neared, we learned that a permit issue had delayed our fiber connection and so for the move date we would not be online with fiber. With a drop dead date of a week before the move for the fiber internet connection, we moved to plan B for the internet, which based on this location was a second Rogers cable internet connection.
Although not as reliable as two separate internet connections nor as fast as fiber, a second connection would provide us with sufficient internet throughput to continue business as usual for our entire team. Installed 4 days before the move we were able to test fully even the plan B internet connection before our move so that a technician could be dispatched in advance should any tests prove an issue with the connection. Fortunately, for us everything was working as planned.
With our business environment (read hosted solutions) tested with phones and computers onsite, and actively used for weeks before the move, the risk of major service interruption the following Monday was almost non-existent. Compared to a traditional weekend forklift of premise equipment, let alone to the IT costs to connect and test equipment on the weekend it is clear hosted is the better option. On the phone side, we didn’t need to plan for our lines to be moved nor be concerned with any client facing outages.
For those business people reading this – the move was as simple as moving furniture and connecting the computers and laptops into the network jacks (already tested!) at the new location. Our email to staff listed the services that would be available over the move weekend – all except VPN to the office and printing would be available while the move was in progress.
If you have a move on the horizon and are starting to plan, it is the ideal time to review hosted solutions. From CRM to email/groupware, and file storage to phones, a hosted solution will not only make your move more painless, but you’ll thank me every day after your move.
If you are in the final stages of a move, it may be too late to migrate all services, but even moving only some can help provide a contingency plan or smooth out the more complex details like moving a phone system with relatively little notice.
Good luck with your move!