Creative businesses operating in industries such as film, television, media and architecture have unique IT needs that can make a transition to a new IT support provider feel more sensitive and stressful. They may need a provider that can support a relatively unique IT environment, as well as a hybrid setup of Windows PC and Mac users for instance.
If you are considering making that important change in IT support, this guide can help you. In this blog, we outline the key steps of making a smooth transition of IT support, so that your business can harness more benefit from the potential that technology has to offer.
The effectiveness of your IT support transition will hinge on how well planned it is. The first step is to create a detailed plan that maps all of the key details; if you are leaving a current provider, it’s likely there are gaps in the services they are offering, so ensuring your new provider can fill those gaps is of crucial importance.
Consider what services and assistance you may need help with in the future. A great IT support provider is a long-term technology partner that can scale their services with your business. Alongside considering your service needs, work with internal and external stakeholders such as your current MSP provider to get all of the documentation that you need together for an orderly transition. This can include:
- An inventory of your network infrastructure, such as your servers and the applications and systems they are hosting
- A full list of services and support processes that you are receiving from your current MSP; with these in hand, you can plan ahead to ensure business continuity during the transition process.
- Map your data in terms of where it is hosted and where it is accessed. In the transition process, these details will also empower business continuity
- Form a transition team and allocate key responsibilities for the change
- Create a stakeholder map and a proactive communication plan, which will help you to unearth key details and potential issues ahead of the transition
- Take steps to ensure that your data is backed up securely ahead of the migration
Once you have chosen your new IT Support Provider carefully, you will need to establish timelines, budgets and contingency plans in case of any unexpected issues. This enables you to be prepared for anything and everything that could happen, avoiding potential frustration and confusion.
Communication & Transparency
It can be guaranteed that without good communication, the transition will not go as well as it could. Without communication there will be confusion, which could in turn cause a range of issues such as duplication of efforts, misaligned expectations, and implementation gaps that can disrupt your operations.
Ensure that your communication plan appropriately engages all stakeholders, including your current and new provider, your users, and any other external parties. This will help to create more alignment. The communication plan should involve regular actions that continually refresh the alignment of the stakeholders involved in each step of the process.
Of course, ensure that issues, risks and actions are continually documented and that this documentation is regularly updated. Give access to documentation to key players in the transition process to ensure operational alignment outside of meetings. Without regular communication and the regular updating of documentation, it can be all too easy for implementation gaps to emerge.
To guarantee a seamless and stress-free transfer, identify and engage stakeholders, document agreements and plans, promote open communication, and respond to issues right away.
Knowledge Transfer & User Onboarding
The expertise and direct knowledge of your IT infrastructure is a very valuable resource that can be leveraged for a smoother and faster transition. If you’re moving from a current provider to a potentially new one, conducting a full transfer and onboarding will prove useful for your fresh start.
This is where documentation and communication play a particularly important role as discussed earlier. The more comprehensive that documentation and knowledge sharing is in the process, the smoother the transition and start of your new IT support will be. Uniquely for creative businesses working in industries such as film, media and television, there may be unique software and processes relating to managing creative assets and licenses that need to be accounted for in the transition process.
Your new provider may operate differently compared to your previous provider, which may mean new documentation and processes will need to be created. With existing documentation in hand, this will make it easier for your new provider to produce accurate documentation and processes without missing a beat.
For your users, offering a thorough onboarding with your new provider via a meeting and training sessions, will help them to get used to any new channels, processes and tools that may be involved in this new setup. Ahead of a transition, this also enables your team to raise and discuss ideas and concerns that can create helpful opportunities for improvement.
Test & Validate
Before fully implementing the new IT support system, it is crucial to conduct thorough testing and validation ahead of completing the transition fully. By simulating real-life scenarios and involving key stakeholders in the testing process, you can identify and address any potential issues as part of the transition process before the go-live. For example, a complicated hybrid infrastructure comprising Windows users and Mac users, can present teething problems in the process, which can be addressed ahead of time.
If new IT systems are involved in the transition, one way to conduct testing beforehand, is to create a special test environment where the new systems can be deployed safely. To produce accurate testing results, this test environment should be an accurate reproduction of your hardware, software, network setups and IT processes. By completing testing ahead of the transition, you can detect issues and resolve them before they can cause upset and verify that you will hit the ground running with your new provider.
Post-Transition Review & Feedback
Once the transition is complete, having a plan in place to review the transition’s success can be useful for identifying any gaps, and to collect feedback from stakeholders that can be used to drive agile improvements within the new solutions that are in place. This is especially important in the often more diverse IT environments of agencies operating in the film, media and architecture industries, that need to ensure their IT empower their productivity, compliance and data security.
The review could include an evaluation of the transition process, a documentation-transition check to ensure your users and new IT support provider are in-sync regarding any changes to existing practices. Gathering user feedback and impressions about the new support can be very helpful for jump-starting continuous improvement and refinement of your new IT services.
Post-transition reviews are a great tool for checking for any gaps in the process, surveying the changes and initial benefits of your new IT support, and uncovering useful feedback that can be applied promptly, helping your creative business to get the best from its new IT support provider.
For creative businesses in particular, making the move to new IT Support can feel like a stressful and daunting process. However, by taking these steps, you can create a smooth and holistic transition so that your business can tap into the full potential that technology and quality IT support has to offer.
With careful preparation, communication, knowledge transfer, testing and a post-transition review, a smooth and stress-free move is very achievable. All stakeholders should understand the process and advantages of the shift; clear communication, documentation and training can assist in achieving this. Testing and validation can also help to detect potential problems before the final deployment. By implementing these practices, you can move towards the greater productivity, security and efficiency that a new provider can bring with clarity and assurance.
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