How IT change management and configuration management work together

How IT change management and configuration management work together

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When it comes to IT change management, configuration management, and all the other processes related to change management, most people have no idea what’s going on. 

It is important to understand that change management and configuration management are different processes. While they both seek to ensure consistency of systems, they do so in different ways. In change management you are keeping track of changes to software and hardware, while configuration management focuses on everything else around the application or system.

Let us break down why they are different and how they should be used in your organization or project.

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Change Management and Configuration Management are different processes

Change management is the process of managing the changes that are made to the configurable items in an environment or system. This includes proposed addition, deletion or modification of any component (i.e. component type or component attributes) or configuration data in a system. Change Management helps to ensure that all changes made to a configuration system include appropriate documentation and approvals as defined by its governance rules.

IT departments use configuration management software to ensure the proper configuration of system components, hardware, and software, and to prevent deviations from their baseline state. They often apply it to manage servers, network equipment, and desktops.

Change management focuses on people. It involves not only implementing configuration changes correctly but also making sure that everyone affected by them is comfortable with the changes and can use them effectively.

Also read: Leveraging Virima’s CMDB for Effective Change Management in IT Organizations

Change management involves communicating with all stakeholders involved in a project or process change, including those who will be using new technologies (for example, new software) as well as those who are responsible for supporting these users after implementation (for example, help desk staff).

Configuration management proactively ensures that you make changes correctly and consistently across all systems in an environment. Thus testing each change before its implementation into production.

Change management addresses unexpected changes, whereas configuration management should precede any change. For example, proactively upgrading an application on your server with a new version of code or adding functionality via an update package (e.g., Service Pack) constitutes configuration management. Thus aiming to ensure your system’s proper functioning after these changes.

Changes can be classified as minor or major changes.

  • Minor changes: A single person, who is often also responsible for implementing the change, usually carries out these changes. They require minimal time and effort and can often be performed without much planning.
  • Major changes: These are changes that require more planning, including collaboration between teams or departments within an organization. For example, if you’re moving servers from one location to another you’ll need input from IT operations staff members who will perform this task on behalf of your organization (and probably some help from other departments).

Configuration management is about making sure that changes are made correctly. It occurs before a change and helps prevent errors in configuration.

Change management is about dealing with unexpected issues after making a change. This occurs after completing any IT project or process, including software code updates or hardware upgrades.

Read: Agentless vs agent-based discovery

IT change management vs configuration management

People often confuse change management and configuration management, but they are actually two very distinct entities. Change management is a process that helps you deal with unexpected changes to your software and systems. Configuration management provides tools to automate the process. Thus ensuring that you make changes correctly in the first place and maintain consistency across all your servers.

Configuration managers deploy new code properly across all servers using these tools. Thus ensuring that all other components used in an application are also appropriately updated (for example, upgrading all dependencies). After completing this work, developers can start their tasks without the worry of breaking anything else in production.

Point of differenceChange managementConfiguration management
ActivitiesChange management deals with the planning, budgeting and implementation of changes. Changes can be positive or negative and may result from a need to introduce new policies or practices, changing market conditions or internal organizational pressures. Change management helps to ensure that these changes are effectively implemented in a way that minimizes disruption to your organization’s performance.Configuration management is a procedure to maintain the integrity of product specifications in an environment where changes could cause problems. This procedure helps make sure that modifications are made consistently and accurately. Configuration management documents can be used to track the progress of updates to a system, manage upgrades and enhancements when they are released.
FocusChange management focuses on managing the changes that affect the configurable items and the system. This includes: changes to the requirements, design, or construction of configurable items, changes in customer expectations, and changes to operating policies, procedures and strategies.Configuration management is a discipline that focuses on managing the configuration items and states of the system. A configuration item is any kind of object (e.g., software packages, hardware components, documents) whose value depends on its state and identity.
ProcessIn a change management system, the change process is supported by a systematic approach and includes steps such as identifying the change requests and evaluating their impact on various project objectives. After the request is approved, you will update baseline, update the project documents, and inform all stakeholders.Configuration management is the set of policies, procedures, and technologies that help to identify, control and track configuration items throughout their life cycle. Configuration management ensures that there is a process in place to handle changes to the product’s specification, while also documenting how you will monitor and control those changes. The configuration management plan helps  with the version control of the product.

Learn about the role for CMDB in IT management

Virima is an all-in-one solution for your IT change and configuration management

It is important to understand the difference between IT change management and configuration management. To ensure a successful IT environment, you must implement two very different processes — configuration management and change management — despite their shared functional overlap.

Virima is the ultimate IT change and configuration management (CMDB) tool. Our platform manages the full IT lifecycle and your distributed IT asset inventory. It also offers all necessary features for your varying needs. It handles your critical hardware and software asset inventory. This comes with optional agentless and agent-based asset discovery.

Our CMDB enables you to create, maintain and manage all the assets that are important to run your business applications successfully. Also, our powerful discovery functionality allows you to identify devices, actively scan them for known vulnerabilities, prioritize them based on risk level, map these vulnerabilities to software updates and finally let you know just who is responsible for each one of those vulnerable assets.

Virima allows you to automate and enforce change processes as well as log all changes in your CMDB along with their associated documentation. Other agent-based tools can’t perform this task due to intense security and credentialing concerns, but Virima enables agentless discovery while still fulfilling all requirements. With native integration with other ITIL processes like Problem Management and Release, Virima provides the features necessary to drive proper change management adoption. Find out what else Virima can do for your IT environment with its robust Discovery, Service Mapping, and other solutions by requesting a demo.

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