The fast pace of digitization means that organizations are experiencing constant changes to their IT environments. These changes can be made manually by IT staff, driven by automated processes, or enforced externally by technology vendors. External changes can include hardware, software, and cloud service updates and upgrades. As a result, IT change management has evolved from big-bang upgrades into a continual process.
Organizations manage thousands to hundreds of thousands of software, hardware, and virtualized assets, all of which need to be managed, configured, and updated. As a result of this complexity, IT teams need to develop disciplined change management processes to evolve their infrastructure. IT organizations use ITIL 4, a globally accepted IT service management best practice framework to govern processes, from proposing changes to reviewing, implementing, accepting, and testing them. IT teams use Agile, DevOps, and Lean processes to manage changes and often execute them on weekends or other times when network demand is lower.
What is IT change management? CIOInsight defines IT change management as “a structured process for reviewing proposed IT and system or service changes.” IT teams request and review changes before making them to reduce the possibility of outages.
Human Error Is the Leading Cause of IT Service Outages
So, why is change management so important? A well-managed change management practice adds value to organizations: bringing new capabilities to the business, improving service performance, ensuring operational stability, and enhancing network security. Yet, despite their best efforts, many IT teams struggle to enable change without causing performance degradation or downtime.
According to the Uptime Institute, networking-related issues are the leading cause of IT service downtime, with human error cited as the major culprit. Two in five organizations (40 percent) suffered a major outage due to human error in 2021, with 85 percent of these incidents caused by staff failing to follow procedures or flaws in change management processes and procedures.
IT outage costs are increasing. In 2021, 60 percent of IT failures resulted in at least 100K in total losses, while 15 percent caused more than $1M in losses. Source: The Uptime Institute
IT staff may have the best intentions when they make changes, but they may not fully understand system interdependencies and how one change can impact the rest of the IT environment. They are often surprised when changes cause a cascading effect, taking down numerous assets and destabilizing networks.
Control Change to Improve Organizational Business Continuity
So, it’s clear that organizations need help strengthening change management. Given that most teams are using Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) frameworks, IT service management best practices, and change management platforms, what more can they do?
The practices and tools teams use help them plan, execute, and track changes. However, they don’t provide visibility into IT network impacts, either before or after changes are made. So, increasing visibility into changes and being able to assess their effects would dramatically improve teams’ ability to develop well-informed change management impact assessments. By doing so, they could sequence changes strategically to achieve business goals and avoid harm to networks, services, and users.
Configuration management databases (CMDBs) provide teams with the visibility they need into assets and dependencies to enhance their change management practices. CMBDs:
- Provide a single version of truth: Many organizations struggle with shadow IT, due to their business’s fast adoption of new services. As technology teams know, it’s impossible to control IT if they don’t know what services and technologies are being used and deployed outside of their radar.
A CMDB that enables automated discovery of all technology resources provides a real-time inventory of all assets across an organization’s hybrid cloud infrastructure. With these insights, IT and service management teams know what they have and can properly determine and plan the changes and configurations that need to be made to keep services up-to-date.
This information is valuable for improving service quality and operational performance. However, it is also absolutely vital to ensuring the success of strategic initiatives, such as managing cloud migrations, executing other modernization and upgrade initiatives, and integrating corporate technology systems during mergers and acquisitions.
- Identify system dependencies: Business processes often cross multiple systems. So, being able to visualize and understand these dependencies can help teams improve the accuracy of change management practices. A good CMDB platform can map dependencies, depicting the relationships between applications, servers, switch ports, users, and devices. As a result, IT teams can view the full list of services and dependencies before making decisions, increasing their confidence about configuring assets, making changes, and transforming their hybrid cloud infrastructure.
- Getting detailed information: When changes take place, change management platforms can generate alerts about the change. But it is equally important to understand the impact of changes. An accurate CMDB can provide you with more detailed information about the resources in question and their impact. This information also comes in handy when service management teams need to diagnose the root cause of incidents to quickly restore services.
Enhance IT Change Management with a Next-Generation CMDB
Maintaining network uptime and application performance is increasingly important as more organizations digitize. Cloud service providers need to maintain service-level agreements, while organizations rely on always-on digital services to ensure customer satisfaction and drive revenues.
Device42 provides the next-generation CMDB that organizations need to discover all of their assets and manage them effectively across hybrid cloud environments. Device42 provides IT and service management teams with full visibility into applications and workloads, their dependencies, and status, so that they can determine the impacts of planned and executed changes and configurations. Organizations that deploy Device42 reap a 4.8X return on their investment and resolve outages 10 times faster than before, on average.
By using the information Device42 provides, teams can deploy new features and functionality, improve service uptime, and help transform their business in the competitive digital marketplace.