Table of Contents
- IT Visibility in Change and release management
- Understanding change management
- Understanding release management
- Streamline your change and release management with ViVID™ business service mapping
Change management and release management are critical processes that organizations must effectively navigate. This is to ensure the efficiency, and security of their systems while keeping up with the emerging trends in the IT environment.
One of the key factors that can significantly enhance these processes is IT visibility powered by business service mapping.
In this blog post, we will explore the profound impact of IT visibility and business service mapping on change management and release management. But before that let’s delve into the fundamental concepts of change management and release management.
IT Visibility in Change and release management
Understanding change management
Change Management is all about managing changes to IT systems in a controlled and coordinated manner. It’s like being the gatekeeper for any modifications or alterations that happen in the IT environment.
To put it simply, change management is a set of standardized best practices and methods that concern individual changes. For that, it lays down the required control processes and approvals so that changes could be handled promptly and efficiently.
The aim is to minimize the incidents related to change and minimize their impacts if they happen.
But what does change management look like?
Imagine your organization heavily relies on a particular software application for customer support. Now, the software developers release a newer version of the application to bring forth all these amazing new features and enhanced performance. As a change manager, you need to assess whether upgrading to this new version is a good idea.
Further reading, change management vs configuration management.
How does IT visibility benefit change management?
Here’s where the risks come into play and consequently the need for IT visibility. The risk is that upgrading software can sometimes lead to unexpected glitches or compatibility issues with other systems.
If you don’t properly manage this change, it could potentially impact your customer support team’s ability to effectively assist customers and could even result in downtime for your services.
For normal changes like this, IT visibility streamlines the most crucial part of managing this change. Here we’re referring to the assessment of the impact of change. With IT visibility, you have access to detailed relationship views between different systems, and how they impact other business services.
Business service mapping driven IT visibility for change management: Impact analysis
When tied with an ITSM platform, in the change management window, you can pull out any change request belonging to your group and go straight into impact analysis of that particular change by visually seeing how the CIs (in this case, the software application for customer support) relates and depend on others.
It also shows how the CI serves other applications and services. So you can inform the stakeholders of those related services or applications and plan accordingly.
Moreover, when a CMDB is in place, IT visibility through business service mapping tools provides context to the list of impacting CI related to the change in question. So the change manager gets to properly assess the impact.
In the above ViVID™business service map, you can see how a change manager can see relationships and dependencies of a CI (SQL) server with other databases and services.
During the technical or peer approval as well as before it goes to CAB (Change Approval Board) for approval, the IT visibility into the relationships helps it pass a full range of authorization and assessments.
Moreover, when the change assignee/implementer is testing the change, business service mapping tools such as ViVID™ service maps simulate the applied change using dynamic visual maps. Such easy change simulations speed up the whole process leading to the CAB.
Further reading, business service mapping for IT management
Understanding release management
Though change and release management are closely related, release management deals more with the deployment of updates and IT services into the live IT environment. Here a number of changes are tied together that are then termed “releases”.
So what release management does is handle the overall deployment and distribution of a series of changes. To put simply, release management plans, orchestrate, and deploy a number of approved changes that are sufficiently tested. So it’s easier to guess that release management concerns more with the ‘how’ and ‘when’ of changes than the ‘what’ of change.
This can involve a lot of moving parts, from coordinating with different teams to testing to making sure that everything is working correctly. As you might expect, it can be a pretty complex process.
But what does release management look like?
To understand release management better, imagine the development team of an e-commerce website has just made some critical changes to the site’s checkout process. They want to release these changes so that customers can take advantage of the new functionality. However, this deployment involves multiple changes that concern multiple teams and components. All of which needs to be tested to ensure everything is working seamlessly.
As you can probably tell, deploying such a release has a lot of complexities. There are various teams involved, including development, testing, operations, and security, among others. Each team has to make sure that their part is functioning correctly and integrated with other parts of the system. There are also considerations for rollbacks and dealing with unexpected issues that may arise during the deployment.
How does IT visibility benefit release management?
IT visibility benefits release management by providing visibility into the entire process for each team or stakeholder. Having a clear understanding of every team-specific component, and system, involved in the release process helps eliminate bottlenecks and redundancy, and streamline crucial processes.
For example, using a business service mapping tool can provide a clear view of all the components and their dependencies. Moreover, business service mapping tools such as ViVID™ service maps make it easy for each team involved to use and create filters to focus on CI relationships that only matter to them.
Such group-based simpler collision detection features make it easier for various teams dealing with a particular component of the release to be more efficient in their evaluation stage.
This eases up the coordination between different teams and identifies the potential impact of changes before the actual release. As a result, the release process can become more efficient, and any potential issues are identified sooner rather than later.
Further reading, how to implement business service mapping for your business
Business service mapping driven IT visibility for other aspects of release management
The difference between change and release lies in the sheer number of activities involved. While change revolves around a single change, release tackles multiple changes. Hence, release management demands better planning, and coordination in their release activities. To avoid any disruptions or incomplete features, it makes sure to incorporate and release all necessary changes together.
While releasing a new version of a product, a SaaS company needs to ensure that changes to the database schema are synchronized with the corresponding API changes. At the same time, they need to ensure that the user interface reflects the change. All this involves multiple teams with varied responsibilities of planning, developing, testing, reviewing, and implementing.
So a smooth and successful release will depend on the level of communication and coordination.
Business service mapping provides a shared visual representation of the IT infrastructure that facilitates better communication and understanding between different teams involved in the release process.
In ViVID™ service mapping integration to ITSM platforms like Virima, ServiceNow®, and Ivanti, teams involved in release management get a shared view of the dependencies and relationships for any asset blueprints they concern.
Image name: Asset blueprints for Business Service Mapping
Streamline your change and release management with ViVID™ business service mapping
IT visibility through business service mapping plays a vital role in enhancing both change management and release management processes. The dynamic visualizations aid in various aspects of change management by illustrating the relationship between the requested CI for change and other dependent CIs. The prominent of which is anticipating, evaluating, and controlling the impact of changes on systems, processes, and users.
Release management, on the other hand, relies on structured and controlled processes to safely deploy new versions of software applications. IT visibility facilitates a deeper understanding of the entire release lifecycle. This enables various stakeholders responsible for handling numerous components (CIs) of releases to assess the impact of those on systems, and applications. It could be during the planning and development or while reviewing after the rollout.
In both cases, Virima’s ViVID™ service mapping streamlines the processes by integrating with major ITSM platforms such as ServiceNow®, Ivanti, Cherwell, and Jira.
Request a demo to learn how ViVID service mapping capabilities can integrate with an ITSM platform of your choice and streamline both change management and release management.