This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.
Mondays usually come with a heavier workload and intense pressure to sort out the problems that have crept up over the weekend. Networking issues may slow down the business to a snail's pace, or even force it to a grinding halt. An organisation's ICT network runs like a nervous system. A slow or dysfunctional network equates to a massive corporate headache that needs to be relieved to avoid permanent damage.
The tension headache: weekend configuration changes
Organisations often underestimate the value of proper change management because they do not fully understand the inherent complexity in the simplest of adjustments. Often, there are many variables which could affect the way the entire network behaves. When technicians make ad hoc changes over weekends - mostly out of necessity at the time - formal change processes are not followed, which may lead to a blinding networking tension headache on a Monday morning.
For an organisation with a vast and varied network, such as an urban railway operator, the results may be catastrophic, particularly given that Mondays in large cities usually come with their own additional volume of urban travellers. If the system is slow, ticket queues will soon snake out of subway stations and the entire city's public transport system could be brought to its knees. With a large and complicated infrastructure, an underperforming network is sometimes harder to fix than a network that's completely down, because it is more difficult to trouble-shoot and find the fault.
Cure: proper change management processes and procedures
Proper change management usually starts with someone raising a change request with a change advisory board. Regular, scheduled change management calls to discuss planned changes are recommended. The more thorough and effective these meetings are, the fewer emergency changes and calls there need to be. That's not to say that change management will eliminate all risks, but it can minimise most.
The change advisory board then recommends an impact analysis which could vary depending on the complexity of the change. The impact analysis includes not only failure predictions, but also performance impacts. Often quick and simple, this due diligence process is critical for all changes, even those perceived to be minor.
Based on the analysis, a change plan will be developed, which would include aspects such as the length of time the change would take to implement, the resources needed to effect the change, the various risks involved, and a roll-back plan should the change not be successful and it needs to be reversed. Backups or alternatives then need to be considered and put in place.
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