Relocating your business into an existing or brand-new office can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Trying to manage the day-to-day operations of your company while simultaneously working with general contractors, engineers, moving companies, make it easy to neglect or omit certain requirements especially those from your IT department. These commonly overlooked requirements may cause costly delays and negatively impact your business operations post move-in. The following Office Relocation Technology Guide is designed to help you avoid these missteps by highlighting key factors you should consider along with some of the information you may want to gather while conducting your due diligence. There may be requirements unique to your business not contained within this paper. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you to review your specific needs in detail.
INTERNET AND PHONE SERVICES
One of the most important aspects to consider when relocating is the internet and phone services offered at your new office. Slow internet speeds, poor network reliability, and/or expensive monthly phone bills can have a huge impact on your company’s bottom line.
To get an idea of the services available, collect the address of your new office or neighboring buildings (if you’re constructing a building at a newly parceled lot) and check with your local communication or internet service providers. Some of the common providers in the Denver metro area include Century Link, Comcast, Megapath, and Verso Networks (Business Internet)
Key Point: Constructing a new building? Check into options immediately! The time between ordering services and when they’re live in your building can take 6+ months.
When shopping for internet and phone plans you may notice companies like Comcast now offer bundled solutions that include a cloud based phone system. If you’re considering switching to VoIP, make sure to consider your bandwidth requirements i.e. number of concurrent calls, other applications and services competing for bandwidth on your network, ability to adjust Quality of Service settings, etc.
Speaking of phone systems…..
BUSINESS PHONE SYSTEMS
There are a wide variety of traditional and VoIP based systems available. Depending on how well your current system meets your requirements, you may want to consider looking at new solutions. Cloud based phone systems offer an opportunity to take advantage of the latest and greatest features while reducing your monthly phone bill.
Evaluating the features of each system and determining an appropriate solution is a topic in and of itself. So, while we won’t dive into too much detail here, it’s important to consider how the type of phone system you own impacts your broadband requirements (as discussed above) and your low voltage cabling project, which will address in the next section.
TELEPHONE AND COMPUTER CABLING
Existing Office: Very rarely does existing network cabling directly align with your unique business requirements. Because of this you’ll need to evaluate the current health and coverage of the existing wiring. Additional cabling may be required to accommodate your new layout and any newly created office spaces. Existing lines may need to be replaced depending on their current performance. Request a report from the current building owner or property manager verifying that the network lines adhere to their specified ratings.
Keep an eye out for Abandoned Cable. The National Electric Code requires that abandoned cable, defined as installed communication cable that is not terminated at both ends with a connector or other equipment and not identified for future use with a tag, must be removed. Building owners may hold you responsible for removal and the associated costs by agreement prior to signing a lease and moving in. Keep this in mind when preparing to leave your current office and when evaluating new facilities.
New Office: Unless listed as a required project deliverable, low voltage cabling is generally not included in construction or renovation costs. Because this is often an independent cost, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the cost drivers associated with cabling (detailed below) and to plan in advance.
- Tour the proposed site and consider a proper location for your IT/Telco Closet; this will be the central point for your network connected equipment and network cabling.
- Take an inventory of the equipment that will require physical connection to the network.
- Evaluate Vendors. Check with vendors capable of certifying the speed and reliability of the network. Additionally, ask for references, examples of similar projects, years of business, price quote, qualifications, etc.
Network Cabling Cost Drivers
- Required Network Performance (Cat5, Cat6, Fiber Optic etc.)
- Number of required “drops” (i.e. amount of network cable required.)
- Plenum vs non-plenum rated cable
- Analog line for fire or security or fax machine
- HDMI for TV’s or monitors
- Coax for speakers
- Complete Network Connected Equipment Inventory Log below. This will give you a rough idea of the amount of cabling required
- As far as your cabling project, VoIP Phone Solutions operate through your internet connection. Instead of running two cables to your workstation (one for phone system and one for your computer), we can run a single data wire. This wire plugs into the back of your phone or computer and then a patch chord connects the remaining device. Running single “drops” to your workstation is generally less expensive.
- Building Accessibility (Open Ceiling, Ceiling Height, Electrical Conduit installed in the walls)
- Cable Type
- Wall vs Rack Mounted Patch Panel
- Cable Management Materials
- Unique requirements (i.e. No cabling showing)
- Amount of time required to remove, clean up, replace existing cabling
- Are all, existing cables “home-run” “or are they connected to one or more switches before reaching the IT/Telco Closet? Multiple switches will require further testing/toning and possible repair work.
Key Point: Plan ahead for your conference rooms. Make sure you have a floor trench installed (running from the wall to the center of your table) within each room. This will allow you to hide all network and A/V cabling within the floor.
Not all office buildings provide wireless networking and it’s important to consider the aspects (office location, number and density of tenants, security, etc.) that may prohibit or restrict your wireless networking capabilities. Consult with your current IT Team to determine wireless networking options.
Make a few calls and check your cell coverage when conducting site visits. Similar to internet and phone coverage, poor access to cellular network can impact your employee’s productivity.
Depending on your requirements and level of current coverage, you may want to consider a distributed antenna system (DAS) to facilitate proper building communications. DAS Networks increase mobile broadband coverage and improve network reliability. They’re typically implemented within large venues (college campus, hospitals, hotels, etc.) where large numbers of people in close proximity browse the internet or check their email on their mobile devices)
Similar to the technical advancement in telecommunication equipment, security hardware now operates on IP networks; Enabling you to integrate a number of systems (surveillance, access control, alarms, etc.) for better monitoring and control.
TECHNOLOGY RELOCATION LOGISTICS
Who’s moving what, when, and how?
What: Technology Hardware such as Computer Equipment, Servers, Phone Systems, etc.
Key Point: When moving servers, it’s important to identify the purpose of the device (File Storage, Email, SQL/Oracle Databases, CRM, etc.); paying close to any servers with mission critical software applications installed on them.
- Consider using moving supplies designed for technology hardware…
- Reusable, commercial grade crates as opposed to cardboard
- Computer Bag Kits – anti static bags that protects all of your computer components from dust and water damage.
- Organize supplies by office cube and label accordingly
Who: Are you relying on internal staff or a 3rd party vendor? Use the Technology Hardware Inventory to identify who is responsible for moving each piece of hardware.