change management

The things we forget when we change (Part one)

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Top 3 change management initiatives we forget to leverage for business benefit

Sometimes it is easy to lose track of why we are performing a task or working toward a goal because we are so focused on completion. With this hyper-focused mindset we also often forget certain capabilities or advantages that may be available to us. It is very common to overlook these advantages in an environment where we must complete tasks faster and with fewer resources than we would prefer. To overcome this challenge, we must be smarter, more efficient and, in some cases, move slower in the short term, so we can move faster in the long term.

What does this mean in terms of implementing change management? What sort of things might we not leverage, or not leverage to their fullest potential? This might, of course, vary for every organization, but it is always valuable to slow our progress and reassess how we are leveraging data and our efforts outside of change management to help us accomplish our internal goals.

Let’s take a look at three of these areas to spark your thinking about how you may not be fully capitalizing on the hidden value within your organization. Firstly, it is important to touch on configuration management and the power it brings to change management. The reason for not including it within the ‘Top three’ is because it is foundational to the maturation cycle of so many operational processes in addition to change management.

Configuration management enables change management to achieve greater capability and efficiency because it provides tremendous insight about how the infrastructure supports the business. Without configuration management, change management can only progress so far and no further. It simply does not have the data and, more importantly, the information it needs to perform a comprehensive impact assessment from the lowest technology device to the end-business outcome that it is intended to deliver.

Since configuration management is a process and capability that many organizations have difficulty implementing, it is unfair to suggest that change management is not fully leveraging its power. In environments where configuration management is in place, change management generally utilizes its full potential. The value configuration management offers change management is immense. It helps change management understand how devices collectively deliver a business outcome and assess the request for change (RFC) in the context of how it impacts the business. This not only reduces outages due to RFCs, but also provides incident and problem management with starting points, should an outage occur.

For the reasons stated above, this article will focus on areas that are less commonly leveraged by change management, while intentionally excluding configuration management.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

IT personnel rarely speak about this area of the organization. That is, until there is a major outage, and then, everyone knows about it; but at that point, it is too late. Commonly known as ‘BC’ and ‘DR,’ they work closely to ensure that the organization can operate during adverse conditions. Business continuity is charged with keeping all aspects of an organization in operation during an event. Disaster recovery brings together the policies, procedures and processes that reactivate systems after an event. A primary difference between the two is that BC must account for the full scope of recovering operational capability, including those outside of the IT domain.

The reason BC and DR can be beneficial is because they, in theory, have mapped the upstream impacts of systems and the processes and procedures for bringing them back online. Typically, in larger organizations, these two areas may even run semi-annual events where they simulate the outages and test their business continuity plans.

In some organizations, where high availability is demanded or where broad outages simply cannot occur, BC and DR might periodically switch processing targets by redirecting traffic from one Data Center to another to ensure that both the primary and secondary sites are fully in sync.. In these scenarios, they might be, in essence, testing their Disaster Recovery plans.

If BC and DR shared their information, and even more ideally became part of an integrated configuration management system, then the value would be remarkable. Change management would be able to leverage complete business maps that were tested periodically to perform true comprehensive impact assessments.

In the next installment of this blog we will discuss Identity Management and Asset/Inventory Management

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Carlos Casanova is an internationally known speaker, IT architect, leadership advisor and the co-author of “The CMDB Imperative”. He has over two decades of hands on experience guiding CIOs and Sr. Leadership to achieve effective IT operations and improve ROI from infrastructure investments. His expansive experience enables him to quickly assess their true needs and achieve better business outcomes. He takes the complexity out of today's cluttered IT and business environments to simplify their goals in order to accelerate achievement and success.