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How IT change management and configuration management work together?

configuration management

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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.

Configuration management software is used to ensure that the system’s components, hardware and software are properly configured and do not change from their baseline state. Configuration management is often used by IT departments to manage servers, network equipment and desktops.

Change management is more about the people. It’s not just about making sure that a configuration change is implemented correctly, but also ensuring that everyone impacted by it is comfortable with the changes and able to use them effectively.

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 is a process to ensure that changes are made correctly. It is a proactive activity to ensure that changes are made correctly and consistently across all systems in an environment, so that any given change has been tested before it’s implemented into production.

Change management deals with unexpected changes. Configuration management should occur before making a change. For example, if you have an application running on your server and decide to upgrade it with a new version of code or add functionality via an update package (e.g., Service Pack), then this would be considered configuration management because it’s done proactively in order to ensure the proper functioning of your system after making those changes.

Changes can be classified as minor or major changes.

  • Minor changes: These changes are usually done by a single person, who may also be the person responsible for implementing the change. They involve small amounts of 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. It occurs after any kind of IT project or process has been completed, including updates to software code or hardware upgrades.

Read: Agentless vs agent-based discovery

IT change management vs configuration management

While change management and configuration management are often confused, they’re actually two very different things. Change management is a process that helps you deal with unexpected changes to your software and systems. Configuration management ensures that changes are made correctly in the first place by providing tools to automate the process of ensuring consistency across all your servers.

Configuration managers use these tools to ensure that new code is deployed properly across all of their servers while also making sure that any other components used in an application have been updated appropriately as well (for example: making sure all dependencies have been upgraded). Once this work has been done, developers can begin working on their own tasks without worrying about 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. While they do have some overlap in terms of functionality, they are two very different processes that should be implemented in order to ensure a successful IT environment.

Virima is the ultimate IT change and configuration management (CMDB) tool. Our platform is equipped to handle complete IT lifecycle management and your organization’s distributed IT asset inventory. Our platform is equipped with all the features you need for all your long and short-term needs – from managing all your critical hardware and software asset inventory, with or without the added benefit of  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. 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. This can’t be done with other agents-based tools due to the high degree of security and credentialing concerns, but Virima allows you to perform agentless discovery while still meeting all requirements. With native integration with other ITIL processes like Problem Management and Release, Virima provides the features necessary to drive proper change management adoptionFind 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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