Change Management Software helps administrators manage changes to be carried out on networked systems throughout an organization. Basically, these softwares can be used, for example, to ensure that all systems in an organization have regular security updates. They can also enable an administrator to roll out new versions of installed software on large numbers of machines simultaneously.
What is the need for management software to handle changes?
* Server updates and application changes throughout an organization can have catastrophic consequence if not coordinated properly.
* Change management is needed to ensure proper analysis, review and application of protocol.
* Change Management Software is a valuable tool to coordinate changes
* These softwares ensure that approved methods are utilized and appropriate processes and procedures are used to track all changes.
* This minimizes the potential disasters arising out of ill-managed changes
Almost all commercially available change management softwares are based on the following workflow:
* The user/administrator is required to input key data necessary for initiating the change.
* There is assessment of potential risks because of the change. Modules at risk of disruption because of the change are identified and strategies are charted out to minimize these risks.
* An automated work flow is created to outline the process of change. It is approved by various reviewing committees (known as change approval board) and altered as per recommendations
* Each step in the work flow has to be improved prior to its actual implementation. Should the change review board suggest some alterations in the protocol, the changes will be incorporated and then again reviewed. Once the change review board finally approves the step, the work flow can proceed further.
* The change is gradually initiated. Each implementation step is carried out as per a fixed schedule and pre decided protocol. This cannot be change without prior approval of the review board. Reports are collected at each step to help in troubleshooting later on.
* An important aspect of change management is to have a back up plan. This is a contingency plan with step by step instructions to deal with disruption of service if a change does not go smoothly as planned.
* Finally, a team of people must determine the success of the change based on execution of the post implementation test plan and success criteria identified in the Change Request.
Key features of a good change management software:
While many software options to oversee changes are available on the market, one must consider the following points prior to making a selection:
* The software should have a strong work flow engine enabling automation of change and release approvals.
* If required, it should be able to seamlessly integrate into other service management solutions
* The interface should be user friendly. Softwares offering easy options for customization should be preferred.
* The software should be able predict, and subsequently manage, any adverse issues arising out of the change.
* Other important aspects are cost-effectiveness, ease of handling and requirement of low maintenance.
* A good change management software minimizes downtime due to unapproved, unsuccessful, unscheduled or incomplete changes
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