An office relocation is an extremely complex task, and no component of this process is more challenging than moving your high tech equipment. You can hire a specialty technology mover, but they can be expensive. For those companies that wish to manage this task in-house, we offer a checklist with some sound advice for the relocation of high-tech office equipment:
- Request a detailed copy of the floor plan that includes proposed furniture orientation.
- Review final space plans, including electrical and furniture placement.
- If modular furniture is being used, run the network cabling before the furniture is installed.
- Determine PC and printer locations in the new space.
- Determine the location of fax machines in the new space.
- Identify personal printers on the floor plan.
- Identify analog lines on the floor plan.
- Determine jack locations (on the furniture plan) for voice and data.
- Obtain bids for wiring (once floor plan is approved).
- Check to see if the doorways, access hallways, ramps, and the elevator doors are wide enough to accommodate your moving equipment.
- Establish move teams. For each team leader, establish a backup in case the original team leader is unavailable.
- Desktop team: Break down unused PCs and equipment and rebuild in the new location Or contact a computer relocation company like PC Disconnect.
- Testing team: Visit each workstation after it’s assembled and verify that everything is operational.
- Printer team: Install and configure all printers.
- Backup team: Take responsibility for the data (perform backups).
- Network team: Build racks and configure switches and routers.
- Review space plans and jack locations for all equipment with team leaders.
- Create an outline for each team member and vendor, as needed.
- If you use both analog and digital phone and network lines, make sure that everything is clearly labeled with an “A” for analog, “V” for digital phone lines, and “D” for network lines.
- All wiring should have permanent labels at both ends with information like room plate and jack numbers. Post a set of floor plans next to the patch panels with all of the room numbers and wall plate locations clearly identified.
- Label computers, boxes, binders, switches, keyboards, mice, etc., with destination information like room numbers and office locations. The information should be detailed enough so that whoever is installing the items can place them without having to ask where they go. One idea is to use different colored labels for each major location at the new office. At the new location, place the appropriate colored labels on the doors, door frames, and cubicles. If the building has several floors or wings, put groups of labels at intersections, stairwells, and elevators, with arrows pointing the way.
- Moving is a good time to give your computers, keyboards, and monitors a good cleaning. Just prior to or right after the move, open the computer cases and blow out all the dust with a reversible vacuum cleaner. Use a compressed air bottle for keyboards and a safe screen cleaner for the monitors.
Network Cabling and Wiring
- Schedule wiring according to the construction timeline for newly built structures
- Identify the telephone and data cabling closet/room within the space.
- Identify the server location on the floor plan.
- Verify that the location of the server room is centralized to avoid the 100m Ethernet UTP length limit.
- Confirm minimum requirements for the server room, including room dimensions, electrical requirements (30 amp dedicated circuit), floor coverings, HVAC with alarm and separate thermostat, and dedicated space for tech equipment only.
- Evaluate cost and lead time in providing additional electrical service in the new location.
- Test all network and phone drops as soon as possible. This should be done before the arrival of any equipment.
- Test all power outlets using a tester as well as plugging something in.
- Map the locations of the new desks-or new locations of existing desks-with your office manager(s) and use a mapping tool to estimate your cable sizes to avoid too-long or too-short cables.
- Plan for extra wiring drops. Put at least two to four drops on every wall of an office space. Run four strands of Cat5/5E cabling to every wall and terminate with RJ45s in a wall plate. In the computer room, group the four strands that correspond to the four jacks on the wall plate and then punch everything down on Cat5/5E patch panels.
- Be sure the backup batteries for phone switches and servers are all accounted for and installed according to schedule.
- If you have an 800 number, make sure your vendor is aware and ready for the cutover date and time. Test the new phone line several days before the move, leaving some cushion time for problems. The more complex the routing programming is on your 800 numbers, the more time and testing you need.
- Disconnect all leased lines, such as T1s, at the old location.
- Review programming/routing on the voice mail system. You may need to make changes there.
- Determine what type of Internet access is available at the new location. (Note: Lead time for a T1 line is often six to eight weeks.)
- If you have to change your ISP, you must also plan to change the DNS resolution for your company’s Web addresses if you host it internally. If you change ISPs you’ll have a change of IP addresses, so you will have to register the change with the DNS registry companies and time it right so that service is interrupted as little as possible. If your server IP addresses are not updated with the new DNS information, then Web and e-mail servers will have problems.
- Inventory existing equipment and hardware, including computers, monitors, printers, modems, servers, surge protectors, fax machines, data cables, network switches, copiers, firewalls, and the DMZ port.
- Evaluate the need for new equipment.
- Make a note of the lead time required for new orders to be filled.
- Donate or make a plan to properly dispose of equipment that is going out of use.
- Often, laptop users who disconnect their PCMCIA network cards will leave them behind. Be sure you have spares at the new office.
- Review service calls for the past year and identify likely-to-fail parts. Have several of those parts on hand. Have spare cables and hard drives on hand.
- Have a physical backup (bootable media) for all servers. Plan to transport the backup media separately from the truck moving the servers. It’s not a bad idea to have two copies in two separate cars.
- Identify key contacts at new and old locations.
- Prepare a list of contact names, phone numbers, pagers, e-mail addresses, and cell phone numbers and distribute the list to all responsible parties. The list should include property management contacts, local telephone company, long distance telephone company, local computer support vendor, local telephone system vendor, telephone/data cable vendor, shipping representative, and Web site Webmaster. Store a printed copy in a safe, easily accessed location, like your car.
- Ensure that the local staff contact will be onsite for deliveries or vendor access to the space prior to office opening.
- Establish and inventory every telephone number to be moved.
- Schedule a meeting with the local telephone vendor.
- Schedule disconnects or additions of phone lines.
- Transfer any ISDN lines.
- Make sure that there are at least three analog lines available in the office on the day of the move.
- Schedule activation time for new site.
- Reconfirm move date with all vendors one month prior to move.
- Have a team meeting to confirm roles and responsibilities.
- Update all pertinent information with your company’s backup alarm system, office security systems, etc.
- Remind users to back up their own files onto the network or disks before the move.
- If any reconfiguration is necessary at the new site, script all steps whenever possible. Test the steps before the move. In writing this list, assume that end users will be doing the changes and make the script foolproof.
- Script the shutdown steps of all equipment.
- Check to see that service contracts on fax machines, PCs, servers, copiers, etc., are not voided if someone other than the contractor moves the equipment or preps the equipment for moving.
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