August 31, 2012, 11:24 AM — This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.
Change management has always been a serious concern for organizational IT. Changes - whether good or bad, planned or unplanned - are inevitable. Change management is less about minimizing change, but more about minimizing the risk and disruption caused by the change.
Before you can understand the impact of change in your environment, you've got to understand exactly what's in your environment. Having a clear vision of the big picture right down to the small details of every user and device is the critical foundation for any change management strategy.
While specific data and details may vary across businesses, here are the four general categories you'll need to track for a successful change management strategy:
1. Track all hardware assets. Knowing which IT assets you have and how they are used has become a challenge in today's complex and ever evolving IT infrastructure. Yet it's imperative to know what you have, where those assets are located and how they are configured. Here's a snapshot of the level of detail that should be documented for each asset:
" Equipment type: laptop, switch, printer, UPS
" Model, manufacturer, serial and capacity
" Usage information: CPU, disk
" Projected growth usage: e.g. how much more growth before it must be replaced
" Network settings: IP address, DNS, gateway
" Software installed and updates (patches and date when installed
" Services offered: MS Exchange, website
" Contract details: warranty, support, costs, install date, place of purchase
" Link to documentation and drivers
Having a firm understanding of all the salient details for each asset will allow you to make better decisions about its usage. You'll be in a better position to know if an asset is performing as expected and you're better positioned to support each system through its projected life cycle.
Create a forward-looking plan for each asset - including when an asset should be replaced and with what - in order to take the guesswork out of the process and ensure upgrades are performed uniformly across the organization.
2. Track your software assets. With a software asset management program in place, you know what you have, acquire only what you need, and can keep all your software assets running effectively and safely at every stage of their life cycle. By keeping tabs on all software installed and in use throughout the organization, you ensure that your company is complying with all licensing requirements - neither paying too little or too much for what's being used.