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The Risky Business Of Technology Moves And Transitions

CHICAGO, Oct. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In an increasingly technology-dependent workplace, disruptions in technology services ripple through organizations with greater impact. While the information technology (IT) team grapples with service level expectations that are nearing a standard of continuous availability, the real estate and facilities team is under ever-increasing pressure to optimize space, improve productivity and control costs. These two trends collide when offices, facilities or datacenters are moved or undergo transition, resulting in additional risk to operations and business continuity. A significant transition mistake can have lasting consequences by adversely impacting your reputation with customers, brand image, and operating productivity.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121024/CG98286)

A technology transition can be triggered by a wide range of changes ― a new product or service rollout; a merger or acquisition; a datacenter or infrastructure upgrade; a cloud initiative; or a real estate transaction or physical facilities move. Technology that might otherwise be taken for granted, much like service from your local utility company, becomes highly visible during real estate or facilities moves, especially when a datacenter or new systems are involved. Specific examples include technology services that are part of the foundation of the modern workplace such as network and internet connectivity, unified communications (UC), and enterprise software applications. Employees expect to be able to have the technology tools and resources needed to do their jobs. Customers and partners expect little or no disruption. A seamless technology transition is one of the top measures for the success of a move, while conversely, failures are magnified and compound the organizational stress caused by a move.

The technology transition risks are higher and impacts more complex during a move because there are more tasks and dependencies translating into more things that can go wrong. Transitions have a huge impact on internal technology operations groups. The skills and expertise needed to properly assess, plan and manage the activities to migrate from one technology to the next, or one facility to the next, often do not reside within a company's internal  IT organization. The infrequent and unique nature of major technology transitions requires different skills than operational management. For example, the skills and knowledge needed to run a datacenter are different from those needed to move one.  Moves are often paired with upgrades or changes where IT staff are being asked to eliminate technologies they have dedicated themselves to running and refining for years, then implement and run something new with the same efficiency in a new location. Flipping-the-switch with confidence requires careful planning and execution to mitigate risks.

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