"Knowledge Is Power", Sir Francis Bacon, 1597.
Whether you’re in the market for your first office, or considering relocating to a new office, there’s a couple of things we recommend you do before you commit to a new location that will save you heartache and money later!
Step #1 – Call your IT Consultant
The first thing I really must stress is that you call your IT consultant and let him or her know that you’re thinking of moving, before you sign the new lease, purchase or whatever.
Unless you are living in the dark ages, your office is heavily dependant on computers – and getting your IT Consultant in on the ground floor of this decision will greatly help with the planning, moving and long term benefits you can make out of this business decision.
Step #2 – Check the Internet capabilities
The last thing you want to hear from your IT Consultant is that the new office you’ve just committed yourself to for the next 3 years has terrible Internet and you’re going to struggle to get a decent service, let alone take advantage of cost saving technologies like VoIP (Internet Telephony) and other cloud services!
You can use www.adsl2exchanges.com.au and type in the address of your new location. Ideally you will want the new location to be ADSL2/2+ capable and support download speeds above 12mbps and upload speeds as close to 1mbps (1024kbps) as possible.
Step #3 – Design Your Office
We use Microsoft Visio to design maps of our customer’s offices for their site documentation. If you don’t have that, pencil and paper works pretty good too
Whilst you are working out where all your desks and staff will go, make sure you allocate a location for your server, phone system, and network switches. You do not want the ‘backbone’ of your business computer systems sitting in an open area where anyone can get to them.
Ideally you will want to designate a secure and lockable area that you can use to store all your network and communication equipment. The area should be relatively dust free and have room to install a small air conditioner in it – electronic equipment does not like heat!
Even if you don’t have a server, ensure there is room for one should your business needs grow in the future. Your phone system, ADSL modem, all your cabling and wiring is going to go in this location and if you can afford it, you should have everything installed in nice neat cabinets.
Also work out if you want wireless services for mobile phones and transient staff. As wonderful as wireless is, you should hard wire everything that you can. As wireless is not a consistent signal databases and applications like MYOB or QuickBooks may become corrupt if accessed over wireless. We even find that ‘wireless printers’ are generally less troublesome if they are hard wired.
Step #4 – Call Your IT Consultant
Hopefully you’ve kept your IT Consultant in the loop throughout this process. If not, give them a call and let them know where you are up to. Arrange a suitable time to visit the prospective premises with them and do a walk through with your office design.
Your IT Consultant should be able to offer some advice on your new office design and help you make that final decision that the new premises is right for you. Your IT Consultant may need to organise a suitable telephone and data communication specialist to install necessary equipment, relocate your existing phone system, or install a new VoIP phone system
At this point you can finally plan the timeline for your move, taking into account the lead time for fit-out, any cabling, telephone line installation, Internet service activation and your IT consultant.
Step #5 – Call Telstra
You need to find out whether you can transfer your existing lines to the new premises. Unless you are staying in the same general area, this is usually unlikely.
Up until a few years ago, Telstra used to quote a 3 to 4 week turnaround for the installation of new lines. This is much better now (approximately 1 week), but it is best to get this organised ahead of confirming your move date.
You will need at least one PSTN (Analogue) line for your FAX. This service will become your ADSL service.
Step #6 – Call your Internet Provider
Once you have been issued the phone number for your new FAX service and the service has been activated at your new premises you can begin getting the Internet on-line.
Whilst you can transfer ADSL internet services from one premises to another, we often find that someone drops the ball and the whole process ends in tears. Generally we recommend you just have a new service installed at the new premises then terminate the old one once you have completed the move. This way you also have the ability to delay the move if there are delays in other areas of your plan.
Do NOT use Telstra Bigpond for your business service. This service is designed for residential usage and lacks the performance and service quality of a proper business grade service. We recommend OnTheNet (A Gold Coast based Internet provider), Internode and Telstra Business (not Bigpond!). The service will cost a little more, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Your IT Consultant will guide you on plans, but always make sure you get at least one static IP address.
Step #7 – Move!
Hopefully by this stage you have worked with your IT Consultant and your new premises has a secure room for your server, phone system and network switches; your IT Consultant has engaged a qualified electrician and data communication specialist to install or update the network cabling in the premises and install suitable data cabinet; your IT Consultant has organised for the relocation of your existing phone system or is installing a new VoIP capable phone system; you have at least one PSTN telephone service and your Internet service is installed and tested.
Now all you need to do is pack all your equipment, hire a moving company and move! Your IT Consultant will organise suitable technicians to assist in packing down and setting back up your computer systems, however as a general rule we don’t recommend they physically move the equipment for both insurance and workplace health and safety reasons.
All going well you should be able to move from one location to the other over a weekend. Your IT Consultant will take care of all the technical stuff in the background and ensure that a technician is on-site Monday morning to assist your staff with any teething issues.