Change management software, in some form or another, has existed long before DevOps came to be. That said, as DevOps becomes more prominent, legacy change management styles have had to adapt to how technology fits into our everyday lives.Technology changes as human thought expands, and humanity changes as technology gives us different ways to conduct work. It's like a symbiotic relationship - how we interact with SaaS and other sorts of applications shape the way in which we live, and in turn, when our ideas coalesce into a need, these virtual products should be ready to fill the void. Thus, change management began toying with strategies to make IT more responsive without compromising the integrity of the systems being changed and the company depending on the infrastructure.
To that end, DevOps best practices represent the pinnacle of what change management has always tried to accomplish. By that, we don't necessarily mean the IT Infrastructure Library's ideal, though many organizations undoubtedly utilize ITIL as a base for IT Service Management tools and achieve success - as do others who deviate from standard ITIL workflows. Change management powered by DevOps, however, means more than simply rolling out new IT configuration arrangements through an iterative process. DevOps is the perfect engine and environment for change management, and advances in change management drive the flexibility and efficiency gains that IT teams need to respond to the demands of DevOps.
1. The Customer is Always Right
Can you believe there was a time when the suggestion box was the fastest, most efficient way to communicate with businesses about their performance and customer service? How long do you think it took for a folded slip of paper with a good idea scribbled on it to become actionable information? Change management has come a long way since, but it's still evolving.
Reactive IT, from a help desk standpoint, has immense customer retention potential, and businesses understand that. According to an international survey of IT professionals conducted by Gleanster Research, all three of the top reasons for adopting a DevOps philosophy in-house pertained directly to customer service: how fast can we get the newest application updates to users, how quickly can we detect bugs in what users already have and how often can we update what users are working with currently. While these ideas can fall under the purview of release management, they also very much impact how IT teams schedule and implement changes. DevOps tools want to push IT to the brink, preempting customer concerns well before a client base is impeded by them.
2. Less Risky, More Frisky
App development began with a waterfall approach for good reason - whether onboarding innovative hardware, updating a program or firing off a new application, IT departments have always had to contend with complexity. As a result, many systems of checks and balances were put in place to ensure nothing fell through the cracks.
While risk assessments have value, manually assessing risk may only hold IT departments back. That's why DevOps encourages the use of automation to extricate businesses from the briar patch of change management uncertainty, principally through IT Service Management suites. Once a DevOps approach has been accepted company-wide, ITSM tools can take over low-level incident monitoring, track problem trends, automate testing throughout systems development life cycles and utilize a CMDB to populate changes while gauging successes and conflicts with new code.
3. Spread the Wealth - and Responsibility
Throughout the greater IT community, the acronym CALMS presides as the leading informal blueprint for DevOps integration: culture, automate, lean, metrics and sharing. That final idea "sharing" matters most to the maturity of enterprise change management.
As help desk solutions accelerate and take on a greater volume of requests, companies shouldn't only concern themselves with how communicable data travels outside of legacy operational silos. For every wall knocked down that once compartmentalized IT and separated it from the helm of the broader business directives, decision-makers must reconstruct working hierarchies according to new standards. DevOps is a little like software socialism - duties within SDLC workflows must be redistributed between developer-operations nodes and automated systems. Additionally, outside of IT, how other employees interact with IT could effectively help kickstart change management initiatives that expedite customer service requests and pinpoint defects in applications. That's why it's important to remember DevOps isn't merely a new approach to IT, but how a business organizes itself and its efficacy. Change management is just one aspect of this development, but one that's becoming more integral as companies go digital.