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Downsizing as a Strategy

August 23, 2017
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My absence in blogging over the past few months can be explained by a decision to personally downsize and move from our homestead of 39 years to a condo!  Not an easy decision, but one we were ready to make.  Everyone should experience a move a couple times in their lifetime, as the process is daunting and eye opening. 

Having survived the process, I started thinking about the implications for information technology (IT) services, and how there might be parallels.  Here are some observations that may be relevant.

Rethink your strategy

Many factors can go into a business decision to relocate.  It may have to do with needing additional space, or a reduction in space.  Whatever the reason, it is an ideal time to rethink things such as the facility layout, equipment placement, the need for additional equipment or services, etc.  These may be areas that might ordinarily not be addressed if facilities stay the same.  Changing facilities may be an ideal time to consider such factors.

Consider a shift in services

A relocation in facilities may be an ideal time to consider changes in services.  For example, a downsizing in facility size might mean less space for storage infrastructure.  This could be an opportunity to replace or supplement infrastructure with outsourced resources such as the cloud.  Conversely, if external services have been utilized in the current facility, and a new facility is larger, perhaps it represents an opportunity to bring services back in house.

Time to purge equipment

As I can attest, stuff tends to accumulate over time!  Making a move means reviewing everything to determine if it is necessary in the new facility.  Hanging onto an old server may have made sense in the existing facility, but is it really needed in a new facility? 

In my own personal office, I had kept a number of computer items thinking that one day I could use them.  After so many years of shuffling them around, the move forced to realize I might never use them, so they went!   What if an item might be necessary in the future?  It can always be replaced.  This may be a good time to make the tradeoff between hanging onto an item that may in time become obsolete, versus incurring a replacement cost at some time in the future.

Reorganize and repurpose

Another benefit of a move is a time to restructure operations.  It is a good time to reassess how things are done, and whether a move means a time to rethink operations.  Perhaps the current environment had space for individual offices, but the new space is smaller and might benefit from more shared space.  Printing resources are a good example.  Maybe there has been a proliferation of printers in the current space.  A relocation might be time to consider updating printers and copiers and implementing more shared equipment.

Plan for downtime

I knew in my situation that I would be unable to reestablish my home office quickly, and I was right, as it takes time to find things and get them in the correct location.  As hard as one tries to organize the move, things will not all end up in the correct location.  This must be built into a move schedule so there is a schedule and time to reestablish operations.  In my case, it took longer than anticipated to find everything and get it set up.  There may be items out of your control, such as utility hookups.  Plan for the exceptions.

A move is never easy.  Having a plan and executing to that plan can make the move less stressful and minimize downtime.  We are all settled in our new condo and getting back to normal.  There were some definite lessons learned, and I don’t plan to go through the process again – at least for a while.  But, rest assured, one lesson learned is to try not to accumulate as much stuff!

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