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What is the Importance of Change Management?

Need to understand the importance of change management and want practical standards and best practices for information management governance and accountability?

The change management process provides a disciplined process forImportance of Change Management introducing changes into the production environment with minimal disruption to ongoing operations.

It should:
  • Provide an authorization and tracking processes to ensure only approved changes are deployed;
  • Require a configuration management process to assess the impact of change on all potential configuration items (CI);
  • Require release management to package the changes for successful deployment with minimal disruption to production.
What is the importance of change management?

Change is defined as anything—hardware, software, system components, services, documents, or processes—that is deliberately introduced into the production environment and which may affect a service level agreement (SLA) or otherwise affect the functioning of the environment or one of its components.

All changes falling under this definition should be addressed by the managing change management process as changes may:
  • Affect multiple users;
  • Potentially disrupt business-critical services;
  • Involve hardware (such as servers or networking equipment) or software modifications;
  • Affect data stored and hence the data management, data movement and data presentation environments; and
  • Involve operational and process modifications that affect multiple users.
What happens if we don't have a change management process?

Information management is so critical to the ongoing operation of a that it is impossible to predict the impact of not adhering to a disciplined change management process. Issues can occur with:

  • Data storage, e.g. database changes are introduced that cause applications to fail. Lack of a clearly defined change management process makes it difficult for the production support team to troubleshoot and resolve the issue-Much "down-time" can be anticipated;
  • Data movement e.g. information continuity may be compromised e.g. a change request might require changing a data feed into a data warehouse. The impact analysis did not identify that this feed is required to update an external data target  on a monthly basis. After three months of processing data, it is suddenly discovered, and, it is also discovered that there is no way to recover the data;
  • Security, e.g.

    • New code might be introduced without adequate security testing thus allowing potential security breaches to occur; or

    • New data storage structures may be created but are not added to the database back-up and restore procedure, or, are not tested, thus leading to potential data loss in event of future failure;
  • Metadata, e.g.
    • New software may be added without updating the metadata repository, resulting in erroneous or incomplete analysis for future projects; or

    • New processes may be added without considering metadata required for operational monitoring thus resulting in an incomplete picture of daily operations

  • Data quality e.g.
    • Data feeds may be changed without consideration of data quality, this causing processes to fail or causing significant increase in data steward error reporting; or

    • Data feeds may be changed and everything processes OK except that the new data is not sourced from a reliable system of record and business analysis reporting/decision making is based on erroneous data.
  • Documentation e.g. changes may be introduced into production with out up-to-date documentation thus causing misery for the production support team and time loss responding to production operation incidents
  • Configuration management, e.g.changes may be introduced into production with out updating the configuration management database thus creating future problems for production support and change management impact analysis.
What is the solution?

The importance of change management cannot be stressed enough. it provides a disciplined process for introducing changes into the production environment with minimal disruption to ongoing operations.
Summary...

The change management process provides a disciplined methodology for introducing changes into the production environment with minimal disruption to ongoing operations.

All stakeholders need to be aware of the importance of change management.


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