Traditional Change Management is Dead. Here’s what the New Change Management looks like
Bob Dylan’s infamous lyrics, "The times they are a-changin", though recorded in 1964, are more relevant than ever.
The way we work and live today in the “new normal” has transformed the operating models, processes, and structures of IT teams across all industries in order to keep up with increasing pressures to modernize during a time when the whole world is moving to digital services.
As IT continues to accelerate digital transformations, it’s time for IT to modernize its change management processes as well. The traditional change management processes simply don’t cut it anymore in today's fast-paced dynamic DevOps, Agile, and Cloud environment.
Sasha Gilenson, CEO at Evolven recently sat down (virtually) with Charles Betz, Principal Analyst at Forrester to discuss what the new change management process looks like, and why traditional change management processes are no longer suitable to modern enterprise.
Check out the full discussion on-demand anytime here.
For the old-school folks like me who still prefer to read, here are the 3 key takeaways from the discussion:
1) Is a Change Management Process important? YES
Based on Forrester’s recent research, change management as a process clearly improves availability and incident management outcomes.
In fact, from the organizations that Forrester surveyed that said that they were committed to change management as a process, some of the strongest statistical correlations in the entire report indicated that change management is correlated with better availability and incident management outcomes.
As Charles shared, change management is important, because it serves 3 critical functions that IT needs to solve for:
- Risk Management
Essentially, change management is about the information, the history, the state changes, and understanding what changed by who, where, when, and how. There are many types of change management strategies, but traditional change management has become quite an inefficient solution.
2) Don't Throw Out your Change Process - Streamline and Improve It
Forrester’s recent state of modern technology operations report revealed that agile transformation needs change management.
Companies that have altered or streamlined their change process in the past three years were much more likely to report exceeding expectations for business outcomes.
To improve and streamline the change management process, modern change management needs to focus on:
Charles provides a deep dive into each of these areas in his report, “Overcome Change Management Paralysis”. Check it out here.
The new change management is data-centric, learning, and adaptive. Automation helps the new process to keep up with the increasing pace of change. Analytics ensure that change controls and risk controls are still in place without slowing down changes.
That’s where Evolven enters the picture with its AI-based change analytics engine focusing on risk assessment and correlation of actual granular changes through their lifecycle.
3) The New Change Management Should Focus on ACTUAL Changes
The recent headlines of Slack’s service outage or “Google Down” are just one of many stories we hear every week of incidents caused by change.
In fact, 85% of performance incidents can be traced back to changes, according to Gartner.
Yet, most enterprises still do not know what is actually changing in their environments.
They might have a good idea of what updates were planned and approved. They might know which changes were pushed through the CI/CD pipeline. But they will struggle to list all of the granular modifications that happened in their pre-production and production environments as the outcome of planned and unplanned deployments, manual or automated.
All of these modifications of specific configuration parameters, registry keys, application files, data fields in the databases, etc. Commonly, enterprise monitoring frameworks do not cover this type of data. However, without knowing actual changes you miss the true root cause of many incidents.
As a result, IT teams are unable to avoid incidents, or need too much time to investigate them.
Actual granular changes need to be in the focus of the modern change management process to ensure its effectiveness in the highly dynamic enterprise cloud.
Evolven closes this gap and tracks actual granular changes across the entire enterprise cloud from application to infrastructure.
To address modern change management requirements, Evolven also provides a patented AI-based analytics engine that automatically estimates risk of each detected change. Integrating with existing management, monitoring and automation tools, Evolven builds a correlated picture of change awareness required for effective change control - what was planned, what actually changed, and what impact was introduced as a result of change execution.
Using this change awareness picture and automated risk assessment, IT can effectively control agile processes without slowing them down.
At any point in time, IT can use this data for root cause analysis, to understand if an issue happened, what actually caused the issue, and also to prevent and predict the issues BEFORE they actually happen.
It’s time for change management evolution to become a part of overall digital transformation.
The new change management relies on automation and change analytics to provide a healthy balance between speed and control in today’s DevOps, Cloud, and Agile world.
Whether your IT team is still managing manual processes, or already running fully-automated environments, change control and change awareness will be critical to help organizations to mature their operations while mitigating stability, compliance, and security risks.
To learn more, set up a time to see Evolven in action here.