Businesses going through relocation might instinctively schedule a move over the weekend to minimize downtime, but experts say they need to be wary of unforeseen consequences.
“People do this,” explains Ed Katz, a moving expert and author of Move Your Business (Without Becoming a Moving Target) (Franklin-Sarrett, 2004). “They move on Friday, thinking they’ll be up for business Monday. Then there’s no one around at the phone company to turn on the phones, no one to turn on the electricity to make sure things are working. Monday morning, you’re missing calls, you’re missing e-mails, you’re losing money.”
While no national statistics are available, Katz says most companies move every three to four years -- the length of the average lease. And, every single time, whether relocating across town or to another city, moving the IT parts of the office -- literally the office lifeline -- takes special care.
Plan well ahead
The first step in the move should be taken well before the moving date, perhaps six months to a year ahead, depending on the complexity of the move. That's when you need to figure out how much space is needed and how the space should be configured to fit the office’s IT needs. Many commercial landlords will offer turnkey space planning solutions for smaller businesses, says Katz, former owner of Atlanta-based Peachtree Movers and founder of the International Office Moving Institute.
If your move involves IT professionals or an executive team in different cities, or realtors and landlords in other locations, collaborative hosted software may make the task easier, notes Andy Kill, spokesman for San Mateo, Calif-based Clarizen. “This hosted solution is scaled for small businesses and perfect for projects that have a lot of moving parts,” says Kill. Similar product lines are offered by Basecamp, @Task, and Microsoft’s enterprise-grade Project.
Move-specific software is also available that can help smaller businesses set timelines and focus on all the necessary steps that a move brings. iOfficeMove of San Jose, Calif., offers hosted software that can create custom timelines for all aspects of a move, including IT. Quality Software’s Office Moving Checklist, a non-hosted product, is another option.
Consider a relocation consultant
While many small moves don’t require outside help, relocation consultants can step in and help in businesses where the IT staff is already stretched thin. “Don’t expect your IT person to both do a move and do their regular job,” advises Blaine Berger, president of Longmont, Colo-based Electronic Oasis Consulting Inc, which specializes in IT relocation services and disaster recovery. Berger recommends that companies have their move plans evaluated by a consultant to see if extra services will be needed.
Moving tips from the experts
Once moving time arrives, experts offer the following tips on ensuring a safe IT move:
With the right planning, your IT move can go off without a hitch -- and leave you free to enjoy your plush new offices.
SIDEBAR: Software to help IT during a move
Clarizen's hosted project management software can help keep team members connected across departments, geographies, and functions.
37 Signal's Basecamp is another Web-hosted project management solution that can keep your business up and running during a relocation -- and beyond.
iOfficeMove offers hosted software that can create timelines for all aspects of a move, including relocating IT.