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From Hospitality to Hospitals: An IT Journey
In the mid 1970’s, I went to work in the hospitality industry to get experience for my dream job: to be a stewardess for a major airline (yes that’s the term used in the 70’S). Well that never happened, but I did work my way from food and beverage cashier to front office manager. This was partially due to my fascination with, and self-taught knowledge of the Motorola Inn Scan computer. A computer in the workplace was very rare in 1976!
In the early 1980’s, I took a job with a hotel management software company based in the Bay Area. My knowledge of how hotels operate made me a good fit for a customer relations position, but I quickly became interested in the technical side of things. I started working with the programmers (coders today) and with the hardware technician to learn everything I could about what made things tick. This lead to me taking over product design, the 24/7 helpdesk and the implementation crew. Looking back, it seems crazy I did all of those jobs but we did not have instant access in those days.
Eventually, I implemented systems worldwide, including hotels in Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia. Traveling on my own, without the Internet or a cell phone, it was pretty much up to me to get it done. When a hotel moved from manual to computerized systems, the transition had to occur all at once. Since a hotel is always open and conditions change rapidly, 24/7 access to the computer system is essential, and the software had to support that.
By the time I started ProActive Business Solutions, I realized businesses were starving for companies that would ensure their IT systems were effectively deployed. I began to build a process to make sure the steps for our implementation projects were repeatable and consistent. Over the past 17 years, we’ve had great success applying our processes across varied industries—adjusting as needed—to get new systems up and running successfully.
A few years back, we won a project to implement the IT equipment in a new hospital in upstate New York. I was excited to take our core business to the healthcare market, and I figured my hospitality experience had prepared me for working in another type of 24/7 environment. Boy, was I wrong. Hospitals, like hotels, are always changing, and the staff requires 24/7 access—but the similarity ends there. The stakes are much higher in a hospital! We had a few bruised knees with our first hospital implementation; however, that experience allowed us to create a process specifically designed for hospital environments.
Today we perform projects at hospitals and medical office buildings throughout Northern California. One major Bay Area hospital was literally under construction above us while we worked. The project involved imaging, deploying and supporting over 4,000 pieces of equipment over a six month period. Every single department of the facility had to run like clockwork right from the start, with no room for error. How did we do? Well we completed the project on-time, on-budget and the client was thrilled.
Today, healthcare is our company’s biggest growth area, and we love the work. It keeps us on our toes, because in a hospital, technology simply has to work around the clock. Yes, it’s like my early days in hospitality, but with much, much higher stakes.
5 Helpful Tips For Your Next IT Relocation
Planning an IT Relocation can at times seem like a daunting task. Attempting to anticipate all of the variables that will affect your schedule is a difficult process to say the least. Late changes, employee confusion, and misplaced inventory are among the many obstacles you may face.
Having handled thousands of IT projects for companies across a multitude of industries, we knows the ins-and-outs of relocation. Here are some helpful tips to avoid some of the most common mistakes that can bring your move to a grinding halt.
- Have an accurate inventory of moving equipment
For many reasons, an accurate inventory of IT equipment can be a crucial asset to any company, but even more so at the time of relocation. Keeping track of the inventory comes handy in quickly placing the assets that end up mislabeled or unlabeled, thereby saving a lot of down time.
- Give clear move instructions to employees
Pre-move activities have a major impact on the efficiency of your move. It is vitally important that all employees who will be moving get clear instructions from the management on how to pack and label their equipment. It is equally important that these employees have a forum to ask questions to the relocation team to eliminate as much confusion as possible.
- Set a strict lockdown date
Last minute changes can have a detrimental effect on the quality of your move. Trying to coordinate late schedule with the movers, IT and various other teams, can be a fairly complex affair. Set a date a reasonable period of time ahead of the move after which no more changes will be allowed.
- Establish a plan for post-move support
Employees should be well informed ahead of the move as to the process of seeking post-move support. It adds to the comfort level when they know that there is a plan in place that will allow them to easily seek help for any move-related issues. Moreover, it helps to reduce an overload of questions prior to initiating the move.
- Allow for flexibility in your schedule
Even after extensive planning, and following all of the above tips, some issues will most likely still arise during your move. A label may fall off someone’s equipment requiring time to be spent tracking down its location; an employee may be on an extended leave of absence and his/her equipment never gets prepared for the move; last minute changes may be required regardless of the lockdown date, or any one of numerous other delays can occur at any moment prior to, during or post relocation. For these reasons it is extremely important to have some buffer time in your move schedule. Acting proactively and exercising such flexibility can go a long way to avoid any potential delays on the move.
After 16 years of experience on countless IT relocations, ProActive has developed standard processes and procedures to work with you on implementing these tips into your move plan and carrying out a successful IT relocation project.
If you are planning a move in the near future and want to talk to us, contact us at 510-302-0120.