Moving office? First move to the cloud.

Stephen Mulligan
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On: 4 Apr 2019
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Technology Considerations Moving Office

Business growth isn’t just good for the bottom line, it can also be an excellent catalyst for change. For expanding enterprises, growth might mean changing premises or taking on new offices following an acquisition. Growth can also drive positive change in your technology systems. Are your systems really still fit for purpose, or is it time to move to hosted and cloud-based services that can improve your agility?

The headache of on-premise.

Time was when IT directors only felt comfortable if they could eyeball their systems and servers. Everything lived in a stuffy server room on-premise, from the PBX that handled voice calls to the machines that managed applications and email. Even when organisations moved some critical infrastructure to off-site data centres, much equipment stayed onsite, including phone lines, which present a particular headache should you need to move office.

Moving phone lines is notoriously difficult, and if you relocate outside your exchange area, it’s unlikely you can keep your phone number. With hosted telephony – where all call control and routing is centralised in the cloud – you can move your offices at will, with no disruption to phone service. Because telephony is just a central service you plug into, all you need is connectivity at your new location. Just provide IP handsets on the desks, and you’re away: staff can continue working without missing a beat.

Migrating to the cloud, today.

We speak to a lot of companies who are considering moving more of their infrastructure to the cloud. If during our conversations they mention that an office move is also on the cards, I’ll always point out the ways in which centralised and hosted services can ease the discomfort of that transition.

The truth is that organisations often consider migrating to the cloud at length, over time, never quite sure when to make the jump. There’s that old saying that the best time to plant a tree is 50 years ago, and the second best time is today. When it comes to moving to the cloud, the best time probably was a year ago, but the next best time is now. That’s especially true if you’re changing offices, but it’s also true for companies growing by acquisition, who need to fold new offices (and people) into their organisation. In that case, moving to the cloud and centralised services can’t come soon enough.

All together now: the cloud and your growing enterprise.

Think of all the challenges that come with acquiring other businesses. If you’re already using cloud-based phone systems, integrating that acquisition is easier. You just need to put in a few WAN connections, and put IP phones onto desks, and your new staff are part of your network and dial plan – because telephony is just another networked service, not a thing that’s tied to phone lines and on-site PBXs.

Hosted and virtualised services offer huge benefits for easing the integration of new businesses. If you’re using Salesforce, for instance, you could simply expand your instance and migrate in your new division’s information, even if that company has used a different CRM package in the past. The same goes for virtualised desktop infrastructure (VDI), which lets staff experience a consistent set of applications regardless of the device or location they log in from. If your company has standardised on VDI, the technology challenges of rolling in newly acquired companies can be greatly simplified.

Onboarding an acquisition will always have its difficulties, but you stand a better chance of helping a new team become at-one with your organisation, if the technology aspect of onboarding is streamlined, centralised and cloud-based. You’ll also be freed up to focus on the integration of cultures and HR, areas that really need your attention.

It’s all very well to bring the signage, branding and façade of a newly acquired business in line with your own, but it’s vital to drive the same harmonisation in your IT. Simplify and rationalise the infrastructure that powers your entire growing organisation, and you won’t regret it; it’s far better than maintaining hard-to-manage technology silos that you tell yourself you’ll deal with “later.”

On the road to innovation.

While growth presents its challenges, it really is a fantastic opportunity to optimise and innovate. If you’ve successfully moved premises – and discovered the benefits of hosted services like VoIP and cloud applications – there are other technologies that can offer similar agility.

SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking), for example, offers flexibility and helps you maximise your investment in connectivity. Instead of letting your backup network connection lay idle, waiting for the day when the primary goes off-line, you can put both primary and backup links to work with SD-WAN, which lets you distribute your traffic flows across connections and even prioritise these according to criticality of the information transmitted.

The thing to remember is that technology isn’t standing still, any more than your enterprise is. If you keep looking for technologies that will help you work smarter, with more flexibility, the opportunities are there.


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