Advanced ITSM Modules 101: Understanding Release Management

Release and change management technologies fulfill a very similar purpose, which often leads many organizations to wonder if they really need release management if they are already investing heavily in changes. There is some value to this concern, especially as release management solutions are such an advanced component of the IT service desk. For the most part, companies will consider change management as a foundational part of their service desk. It is more advanced than a basic help desk solution like service request management, but most organizations with a fairly mature IT setup will be seriously considering change management regardless of their circumstances.

Release management, on the other hand, is a much more nuanced solution, so you may be tempted to focus exclusively on change processes and not worry about releases. However, continuous integration, agile development and increased proprietary app development is making release management a priority. This doesn't mean you should neglect change processes, but that you should seriously consider release and change management as complementary solutions.

Looking at how Change and Release Management are Different
Change management technologies help organizations make changes to the IT configuration quickly, efficiently and with minimal risk. This plays into a significant number of release processes because new application releases will usually require some changes to the configuration. However, adjusting the IT setup to handle the new app or service isn't the only issue that comes into play when deploying a new solution. You also need to replicate multiple instances of the application for different user groups, data center locations and operating systems.

Release processes also include backing up data, testing the application in the production environment, applying any patches or updates to the base version of the solution you are installing and reverting to earlier application instances as needed. A change management platform can help you to handle all of these tasks, but release management systems are designed with these specific problems in mind, making the platform invaluable for organizations that handle a relatively high volume of app releases.

Using Release Management to Maximize Value Creation
New apps and services can do wonders for an organization's bottom line as a good solution will solve key business problems and empower users to get the job done more effectively. As such, investing in release management technologies that help you get these apps out to users in a stable and efficient way can end up creating a huge ROI because it maximizes the potential value creation for new services.

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