Relocating your company’s offices isn’t easy. At all. I’m sure you know that already. But unless and until you’ve actually gone through the process, you probably aren’t aware of just how much potential aggravation lurks within every aspect, grand or minute, of a potential office move – particularly for a CIO.
Spoiler alert: It’s a lot. A whole lot. I know, because for months I’ve been embroiled in this process. Even though Red Level’s relocation process and pending move have been, I believe, far smoother and better planned than is usually the norm, that doesn’t mean it’s been without its fair share of delays, disruptions, and sleepless nights for the team that’s making it happen. There are simply too many variables, dependencies, and outside influences for the process to go perfectly smoothly.
Even with our own move process a few steps shy of the finish line, I’ve already learned enough to compile a planning/worry list of dozens of items long. All are things that need to be planned for, compensated for, considered, accommodated, or simply surrendered to in order to make a move happen reasonably efficiently and effectively. I’ve narrowed down a few, though, that I think are the make-or-break factors that will determine whether a move is manageable for you as a CIO, and a benefit or detriment to your company.
1. Location, location, location. The old real estate maxim still applies: Location is everything. For CIOs, though, considerations are somewhat different than the usual, and they start with connectivity. Can you get the speed and bandwidth you need in your new location? How’s cellphone reception (especially for your company’s official carrier, if you have one)? And how affordable is connectivity going to be if you need to change carriers?
2. Timing is everything. It’s great to have a schedule. It’s probably better to have a plan B when that schedule falls by the sidelines. What do you do when construction delays push your move into the middle of your company’s busy season, for example? If you’ve planned beforehand, you’ll stand a better chance of riding out the storm. And speaking of construction…
3. Know what you need – and what you need to know. As CIO, you’ve got your finger on your company’s pulse, but you probably won’t be aware of everything individual departments need in order to operate effectively before, during, and after a move – or what they’ll be needing from you to do so. A thorough top-to-bottom, department-by-department needs assessment will help identify areas that you’d overlook otherwise, and help avoid surprises later.
4. Security comes first. When you’re having to support or advance a myriad of changes to your data infrastructure and networks, it can be tempting to cut corners for the sake of speed or efficiency. Don’t. Your business is already in a uniquely vulnerable position at the mid-move point; any laxity with regard to security concerns will only increase that vulnerability.
5. Identify and advocate for opportunities. Is your company cloud-enabled yet, for example? If not, there’s no better time than the months before a move to transition to a secure mobile- and move-friendly cloud environment. It could also be the right time to upgrade apps and hardware, transition to VOIP, and consider new remote working or employee device policies, since chances are, some of your team will be putting in hours at home or Starbucks’ during the transition.
These five factors just scratch the surface of your possible considerations – but they can have a big impact on your company’s health and your sanity as you go through the relocation process. Paying due attention to them will make the move easier – and they go a long way towards making a CIO a company hero. Be a hero!
Janet Tyler is a seasoned marketing, communications, and business operations professional with extensive strategic and leadership experience in the technology, education and public relations industries. In her current role as Chief Operating Officer for Red Level, a fast-growing technology consulting firm, Tyler oversees the company’s marketing, sales, and communications initiatives in addition to providing strategic guidance to the CEO and managing daily business operations. As COO, Tyler has helped accelerate the firm’s strong growth trajectory by modifying its market positioning and broadening awareness of its products and services. Prior to joining Red Level, Tyler established a fourteen-year track record of success as Cofounder, President and Co-CEO of Airfoil, a marketing and public relations firm focused on the technology sector.
Tyler’s prior positions included service as Account Manager for Franco Public Relations and as Marketing Director for New Horizons Computer Learning Center. She has received both her Bachelors of Science and Masters of Arts degrees in Organizational Communication from Eastern Michigan University.