Change management is among the most difficult and complex service management tasks that organizations need to deal with. Change tasks are complicated, and they also present significant risks as human error, badly planned processes or unintended consequences of a change can all lead to major problems. A poorly managed change can lead to downtime, damages to equipment or even a data breach, and prioritizing change management is key if organizations want to reduce risk.
Of course, the potential risks associated with change management make preparation key, and there is plenty to get ready for as we head further into 2015 . A few technology challenges set to impact change management plans in 2015 include:
1. The Data Center Without Walls
Cloud computing is among the trends pushing organizations to adapt data center operations to incorporate third-party services as if they are part of the IT configuration. The issue here is simple - as more organizations turn to cloud computing and other third-party services, they need these solutions to integrate with one another and the internal configuration to meet end-user demands. Keeping outsourced elements of IT segregated from everything else isn't feasible as cloud computing rises, and many organizations are embracing the idea of a data center without walls.
The data center without walls movement is a way of capturing how businesses are using hybrid cloud strategies, colocation services and other third-party services to expand their IT functionality beyond the traditional data center walls. While such strategies have been in place for a long time, there is a growing need to take these distinct solutions out of silos and integrate them. This means that any change management plans need to take the diverse environments into account and make sure that changes in the internal configuration, or to the software layer of third-party environments, don't have an adverse impact on other systems.
2. Regulatory Compliance
Many widely publicized data breaches and similar security problems have led to increasingly complex and strict regulatory guidelines. The result is an extremely challenging change management environment as organizations need to not only make changes in such a way that their processes comply with regulatory laws, but they also need to document these operations so they can prove that they have complied with industry standards in the event of a data breach event.
As regulatory laws continue to evolve in 2015, organizations need to be ready to improve their change management practices and functionality in order to comply with new guidelines without significant disruption.
3. Software-Defined Data Centers
The software-defined data center - a configuration built around virtualization in servers, storage systems and the network - is rising. As more organizations transition to software-defined data centers, many are finding that automating processes like virtual machine provisioning, network routing decision making and storage resource allocation makes it easier for IT teams to focus on providing strategic guidance for operations.
Automation is a major boon in the data center, but it also puts incredible pressure on support teams. If the configuration functions more quickly because processes are automated, then the window to perform change tasks while minimizing the impact on end users and interrelated equipment gets smaller. The result is a situation in which process automation is increasingly necessary within change operations. You will not be able to replace humans here - you need intelligent thinking and problem solving - but a good change management platform can automate operations (such as documentation and communication) to ensure that change projects run as smoothly as possible.
The new year promises to bring many challenges, and change management is one part of the service desk likely to be disrupted. Effectively preparing for these issues and making strategic investments can ensure your organizations stays ahead of the technological curve.