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Change management and configuration management bring stability to the cloud


Louise_Ng.jpgLouise Ng is the WW CTO for Cloud & Automation services at HP.


Cloud can help your enterprise stay competitive. But for cloud to be effective, you need to make sure you include legacy IT processes like change management and configuration management when you stand up your infrastructure. If you don’t integrate these processes into your cloud, you’ll have the same problems you had ten years ago when you were optimizing your IT processes. And those problems will directly affect your bottom line.


The business impact of neglecting IT processes

You’re spinning up this new thing called cloud but the reality is, customers have been standing up storage and servers and networks for years. Now you’re automating it and using resources more efficiently, but you’re still using that capability to deliver services. It’s just faster.


But it’s one thing to stand up cloud, another to operate it. All the processes that came alongside IT in the past decade or two, like ITIL and COBIT, are the foundation of process engineering. IT needs to follow these processes to support the business successfully. If those processes aren’t integrated into your service delivery capability, you run a number of risks:


  • A risk to service delivery
  • A risk to revenue
  • A risk to customer service

Manage change and keep tabs on your infrastructure to minimize outages

So what can you do to reduce these risks? On every cloud project, when you talk about the provisioning of your cloud infrastructure, you should also talk about service design and service life cycle and change management and configuration management processes. 


These two significant aspects of IT transformation will benefit your cloud installation. Because you could be great at standing up and starting your cloud in a pilot scenario, but the hardest step is to transform your cloud into a production operational state, and then manage and operate it successfully.


It’s always been a risk if you don’t have successful governance over change in your infrastructure and application layers. If you don’t manage change, then you run the risk of outages, and we all know that outages cost money and customer satisfaction that hit the bottom line. For example, if your credit card processing is out, or customers can’t cash checks or make deposits to your ATM, how much lost revenue would that mean for a bank?


As part of a configuration management system the CMDB allows us to know the t the state of your infrastructure related to your services at any given moment. When you build a cloud, you need to keep the configuration management system updated with the current state of virtual machines associated to the service delivery.


The problem is, a lot of the technologies and the hypervisors that are out there spinning up virtual images don’t come with a plug-in to a true Configuration Management System that provides the ability to manage full service lifecycle.. Or if they come with a plug-in, customers are using the hypervisor configuration management as an inventory manager independently outside of the service architecture and waiting to integrate into their service architecture as a future step.


The potential to erode quality

Convincing clients to follow legacy IT processes for cloud is a big issue right now. I have a customer that is really struggling with the idea that they need change management.


Most of my customers are standing up these science projects for application developers that are development and test environments. But even test environments need to be managed through operational processes.


You have the potential to really erode the quality of cloud service delivery if you don’t integrate a configuration management system and change management at the same time. And that can result in missed business opportunities, customer satisfaction issues and a loss of revenue.


To learn more on how a configuration management system can accelerate your move to the cloud, download this white paper.


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Louise Ng has more than 25 years in multiple IT positions across a variety of industries. Today she is the WW CTO for Cloud & Automation services at HP, and she specializes in leading large-scale projects that deliver quality services through operational optimization.

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Louise, nice & to the point blog on one of my favorite topics. To quote David Cannon "don't automate bad processes". Simple, but true.



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