9 Tips for Successful IT Transitions

Making the transition from one IT solution to another can be problematic.  Whether you move from an hourly IT guy to managed services, or from in-house IT to outsourced, or even from outsourced IT to an in-house solution.  Each has similar challenges and obstacles.  Here are 9 tips for successful IT transitions.

  1.  Hardware – There are a lot of questions around this one. We’ve seen several providers that do hardware as a service to their clients.  This isn’t always a bad thing.  It can be a great way to ensure that you have up to date hardware that is cycled on a regular basis.

The only problem with that is that if you cancel the service, they generally take their hardware with them.  That could leave your network completely inoperable.  If you don’t have a hardware inventory, or if you have any question about who owns what hardware get a complete list from your provider.

This allows you to make plans if any of the existing hardware needs replaced.  You can order it ahead of time, export configurations, and make the replacement project easier.

  1. Email – Most businesses own their domains, and a change in IT provider doesn’t affect this service. However, we’ve run across a few situations lately when a business was being acquired by another.  The acquiring business acquired their domains as well.  This necessitated an email migration project.  Email is a critical function for most businesses, so this is an important one to ask about.
  1. Hosted resources – This can be a wide range of things. Some businesses will have hosted servers or applications.  If your change in IT provider also means that you’re moving away from the folks that are hosting your servers or resources, you’ll need to plan a migration project.

Those servers will need to be moved to your new IT provider or another hosted resource before you complete the transition.  Otherwise you’ll be missing key services and applications.

  1. Passwords – In IT passwords are the keys to the kingdom. You’ll need to ensure you have a domain admin password to your servers as well as a password for your firewall.  If you have other equipment such as switches, wireless, or other gear you’ll need passwords for those too.

In addition to passwords to your equipment you’ll need to ensure that you have passwords to the admin panel for your email and other web applications.  Hopefully your provider has a centralized documentation system they used to store your passwords.  If they do ask for an export of all your password data.

  1. Documentation – Any IT department worth its salt will have extensive documentation. Your outgoing provider should be able to export all the documentation they have on your network for the benefit of your new provider.

This documentation typically includes network topology map, a summary of all servers and their functions, IP addresses of all equipment, password documentation, vendor information, domain registrar login, knowledge base articles and more.

IT providers store these items in several formats; however, they should be able to provide you written documentation that will save your new provider a ton of time during the transition.

  1. Vendor Information – There are a lot of things related to IT that aren’t necessarily the IT departments job. Typical vendors that IT interfaces with include Internet Provider, Phone Provider, Audio Visual Vendor, Copier Vendor, Security Camera Vendors, and more.  The important thing in a transition is to make sure that you have clear documentation on all these vendors and who to call when issues arise.
  1. Key Contacts and Approvals – As important as having the technical keys to the kingdom it’s crucial for your new provider to have documentation on what team members they need to talk with to get approval for billable charges, hardware purchases etc. Ensuring that your new provider has a list of the key contacts makes for better communication and a much smoother transition.
  1. Backup Solution – Many IT providers provide the licensing for backup solutions for their clients. You’ll need to find out if this is the case for your organization.  If they’re taking their backup solution with them make sure that your new provider has a plan to fill that gap.
  1. Antivirus – This is another solution that is frequently provided as part of your IT providers solution. You need to verify if this is the case and ensure that a new solution is put in place if there is a need.

The important thing to do when making your transition checklist is to ensure that your new solution provider can take over with 0 surprises.  You want them to know exactly what your needs are and have a plan in place for each.

Hopefully this had provided some food for thought for anyone out there looking to switch their IT.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, and if your business has specialized hardware or software you’ll need to account for these things as well in your transition plan.

i.t.NOW has been around for 20 years and has transitioned over 200 clients to our support.  We know the right questions to ask so that we can provide a smooth transition.  If you’re in the market for a new IT provider that knows how to make IT easy, call us today!