Two recent thwack conversations touched on the theme of change and initiated tremendous engagement from community members. The first article, Moving Network Configuration Management Forward by lindsayhill, discussed network configuration management that enables higher reliability at the speed of business and the hold up with moving forward. The second discussion, Why are IT people afraid of change? by optwpierce, covered a situation where an IT pro ran into IT inertia—other organizations refused to adopt a more efficient method.
I’ve mentioned before that the only guarantee in IT is that something will break. I’d like to amend to—the only guarantee in IT is that something will change. People, process, and technology will change. Accordingly, IT professionals need to adjust to those dynamics as well.
So why doesn’t IT just change? To understand the angst against change, you have to understand what changes in IT and the drivers of change. IT change management used to be characterized by just IT operations only i.e. those configurations associated with systems, applications, storage, networks, and software. IT received an annual budget that it could spend as it saw fit to support all of the business projects. Because of the steady, constant nature of the IT budget, IT could plan on a regular cadence for procurement, deployment, testing, and integration.
Unfortunately, many times this did not meet the business requirements or the business opportunity window. This opened the door for IT-as-a-Service from someone other than IT. And guess what, others can sometimes do it better, faster, and cheaper.
So two things emerged against change: process and people. Sentiments like “We’ve always done it this way” “It’s not broken, why fix it” or “If we automate and orchestrate those responsibilities, what will I be doing?” arose in IT organizations. However, these excuses can’t hold off the impending IT transformation. The business is mandating that IT operations match the speed and the scale of services that it wants to use. IT change management needs to evolve to incorporate business operations alongside its day-to-day IT operations.
The threat is clear to IT budgets and IT professionals—either effectively and efficiently deal with change management at scale and high velocity or be completely disrupted out of a career. I highly recommend reading the aforementioned articles and the associated comments. And share how you and your IT organization are dealing with change in the comment section below.