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Top 10 Challenges for Change and Configuration Management


Top 10 Challenges for Change and Configuration Management


by Sasha Gilenson

Times have changed and so have the requirements for effective configuration and change management. Check out our top 10 challenges that impact change and configuration management today.

1. Flexibility

How to maintain flexibility enabling a swift response to ever-changing market dynamics? You might need to sway outside of set IT management processes and workflows taking shortcuts to accelerate changes while you still must stay in control

2. Visibility

It is tremendously difficult to analyze the overwhelming amount of configuration information separating the critical from the non critical to make sense of it all, and present it in a format that is precise and actionable. Essentially, how do you build IT analytics taking in account highly detailed change and configuration information?

3. Multiple Environments

Multiple IT environments typically server different teams and might be managed by different groups. How then do you track and maintain consistency of changes across the highly disparate Development, Testing, Staging, Production and Disaster Recovery environments?

4. Change Validation

What is requested to be changed might be described, but what actually comprises the change typically is not captured (files to be touched, parameters to be updated). How do you validate then that a request for change was properly fulfilled?

5. The Impact of Granular Change

The impact of changes is assessed at high level as a part of change review and approval process. Affected configuration items and their dependencies are explored. Change schedule is assessed versus other planned activities. However no one looks into actual impact of detailed changes. What could happen if a specific configuration parameter is changed?

6. Outsourcing

Using multiple vendors in different locations across time zones makes it extremely difficult to manage change. Not only you have multiple hands touching environments, there could be certain communication and practices gap between the involved parties

7. Technology Mash

Organizations typically mix system components and software infrastructure elements developed in-house, provided by external vendors and customized and out-of-the-box systems. The level of knowledge and control varies between these types of the systems while these elements could be highly interdependent

8. Agile Development

An agile change and configuration management process is required to support agile development. The pace of changes increases drastically. There are various solutions that support continuous integration in such environment as manual methods can't survive the pace. Similar approach is needed to support continuous change and configuration management.

9. People

Organizations build tremendous amounts of operational knowledge. However most of it is kept in the heads of the IT specialists that have a tendency to change jobs from time to time. People across IT operations need to be able to understand and analyze changes that are planned and that just happened at least at a basic level independently of availability of individual IT specialists.

10. Data/Information Integration and Benchmarking

Today various IT operations team use different tools and methods to administer and manage environment silos they are responsible for. How to integrate all this dispersed configuration data in order to scale your ability for analysis and empower IT Ops to make optimal business decisions. How do you ensure that the configuration changes you make are the right ones? How do you ensure the change is good for the business and that it will remain stable.

Your Turn
We'd like to hear your insights into this area.

What are some of the challenges that you see in the area of change and configuration management?

About the Author
Sasha Gilenson
Sasha Gilenson enjoyed a long and successful career at Mercury Interactive (acquired by HP), having led the company's QA organization, participating in establishing Mercury's Software as a Service (SaaS), as well as leading a Business Unit in Europe and Asia.

Sasha played a key role in the development of Mercury's worldwide Business Technology Optimization (BTO) strategy and drove field operations of the Wireless Business Unit, all while taking on the duties as the Mercury's top "guru" in quality processes and IT practices domain. In this capacity, Sasha has advised numerous Fortune 500 companies on technology and process optimization, and in turn, acquired a comprehensive and rare knowledge of the market and industry practices.

Sasha holds an M.Sc. in Computer Science from Latvian University and MBA from London Business School.