The Definitive Guide to Enterprise Change Management

by Dan Sullivan


In The Definitive Guide to Enterprise Change Management, an expert guides you through enterprise change management and enables you to explore the ever-growing demand in organizations for a comprehensive enterprise change management solution. This eBook provides strategies for systems administrators to manage change in the software development life cycle, system configurations, and enterprise content.


Chapter 1: Understanding the Need for Enterprise Change Management

Imagine spending a day as an air traffic controller. When you arrive at work, you are confronted with a host of problems: planes arrive ahead of schedule with no available gates, mechanical problems delay the take off of other planes, pilots request changes to flight plans, several planes that are in holding patterns are requesting landing permission (you’re not sure why they are in holding patterns, they were that way when you arrived), and ground personnel clamor about missed connections. Sounds rough. Now imagine that on top of this confusion, planes are changing major components in flight, pilots and ground crews speak different languages (translators are few and far between), connections between flights are coordinated by pilots with no centralized control, and the controllers know any change to these operations can create a set of new, unanticipated problems. Now suppose that we’re talking about information technology (IT) rather than the airline industry—welcome to a day in the life of an IT administrator.

Change is constant in business, and IT is a nexus for much of that change. Threats and opportunities arise as a result of advances in technology and globalization, changes in government regulation, and a range of other market factors. The challenge facing organizations is not to prevent or even slow change, but to manage it effectively. Doing so is the purpose of enterprise change management (ECM). As I will describe in this chapter, changes in one part of an organization can quickly produce changes, side effects, and unintended consequences in other parts of the enterprise. Recent history is witness to several factors that have introduced and accelerated the pace of change in business—and created the need for ECM.

Chapter 2: Examining the Nature of Enterprise Change Management

The need for change within organizations comes from many sources. Innovative technologies, market pressures, and regulatory changes are just a few. These drivers affect organizations in a variety of ways; many set in motion complex sequences of change that propagate effects far beyond the original point. As we explored in Chapter 1, a simple upgrade in a word processor program can change the way staff collaborate and share documents as well as introduce security vulnerabilities that eventually lead to a widespread disruption. This chapter will examine the nature of ECM by breaking down complex processes into constituent parts and analyzing their interactions.

I’ll begin by describing a generic model of enterprise change and showing how that model provides a guide to understanding ECM tools. The sections that follow discuss the process of managing enterprise change and examine its lifecycle. Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of the need for domain-specific additions to the generic model for software development, systems configuration, and document management. Each of these three domains will be examined in more detail in Chapters 3 through 5.

Chapter 3: Managing Change in the Software Development Lifecycle

Software development is a task common to most enterprises—even organizations that are not in the software development business, such as financial institutions, manufacturers, and government agencies, design and develop software applications for internal use. The process of developing software follows a standard lifecycle, and, as we’ll explore in this chapter, managing that lifecycle is an integral part of ECM.

Chapter 4: Managing Change in System Configurations

IT infrastructure is a lot like an orchestra—they comprise a wide range of instruments that act in concert to create a unified product, be it music or information flow. When the instruments work together, the results are favorable; however, a slight variation in even one instrument—a wrong note from the French horn or a misconfigured router table—can skew the overall operation of the group. Managing system configurations is like conducting an orchestra—it takes knowledge of each instrument’s role in the overall process, the ability to identify variations from the ideal, and a clear vision of the final product of your efforts.

This chapter focuses on managing the hardware, software, and network components that are the foundation of an IT infrastructure. We’ll explore problematic system configurations that have consequences that affect more than just network services. I’ll provide examples that demonstrate the subtle dependencies between system configurations and business operations. Next, the chapter outlines the goals of system configuration management followed by a discussion of configuration management and the ECM model outlined in Chapter 2. Finally, I’ll briefly discuss challenges particular to system configuration management.

Chapter 5: Managing Change in Enterprise Content

Organizations are under new pressures to manage enterprise content, including text, image, audio, video, and other unstructured digital assets. Today’s enterprises face internal pressures to better manage operations and improve business intelligence, and external pressures from regulatory agencies and new legislation: HIPAA regulations dictate mandatory protections for private health care information; third-party creators of digital assets—such as research documents, online journals, and other references—demand digital rights management; and consumers expect their private information protected, and governments are ensuring that organizations meet those expectations by applying increasing limits on the use of personal data.

We are no longer simply dealing with document management—the need to control the lifecycle of digital assets demands adaptive change-management practices and tools (see Figure 5.1). In this chapter, we’ll explore the lifecycle of content and the internal and external organizational factors that influence this cycle. In addition, we’ll develop a model of content change management using the framework we discussed in Chapter 2. We will examine how to build policies that support change management tailored to the most important pressures facing an organization. Finally, the chapter concludes with a look into integrating content, system configuration, and software configuration management.

Chapter 6: Practicing ECM

ECM is more than the sum of silo-based change-management practices. ECM crosses organizational and functional boundaries to integrate assets, coordinate workflows, establish policies, and provide the mechanism to identify and control dependencies. Software development, systems infrastructure, and content management are essential elements of organizations’ day-to-day operations. Prior to ECM, these assets were treated as distinct and separate products with their own life cycles and management regimens. Confluences in workflows were more coincidental than managed. Policies were narrowly focused with little consideration for dependencies across functional domains. ECM has changed the framework for change management.

Within ECM, the focus is not on distinct types of assets—such as software, network devices, and documents—but on their common attributes. Chapter 2 developed a model, or framework, for understanding change management at the enterprise level. The model includes:

  • Assets
  • Dependencies
  • Policies
  • Roles
  • Workflows

Each of these elements is relevant to silo-based change management but is even more useful when combined to span an enterprise-wide ECM framework.