IT Governance

How Much Configuration Management Is Enough?

Automation plays a key role in ensuring the reliability and repetitiveness of machines and software. However, manual processes like building, deploying, or testing prototypes are still mandatory in judging the effectiveness and maintaining the thoroughness of a service or products. In order to keep control of everything required to perform these processes, we need a consistent, reliable, and secure way to manage the environment—in other words, we need effective configuration management. Joe the IT Guy says that everyone may have configuration management, but some want to know “just enough” while others want things to be perfectly updated in real time. So where is the balance? Joe suggests the following:

  1. Getting the balance of cost and value
  2. Knowing what you need and what it does
  3. Justifying your spending

Keep the Configuration Simple

Configuration management is like any other expensive and valuable thing that you want to invest in, so you need to balance how much you should spend with what you really need. Basic needs must be addressed first in order to figure out what you’d like to have and how much they cost. A simple way to think about this task is to envision the scenario where you have to purchase a new house. Ask yourself, how many rooms do you want? Which neighborhood do you want to live in? What is your maximum budget to spend on a new house? Now, transfer these questions to how you manage your configuration plan. You have to know what you need and if your needs are justifiable to spend on before actually making decisions.

While configuration management doesn’t deliver direct or tangible value, it facilitates the processes of delivering variables to create value for a business. It also detects and prohibits further development of any problem or incident, which would potentially cause harms to the business. With more changes and less disruptions, a business is provided with the best context to thrive and proliferate. Configuration can improve areas outside of ITSM too, like HR. Its main function is simply tying things together and making the other processes work more effectively.

Justifying the spending is also a tricky task. What you want may not always be what you need and should have. In order to know how much configuration management you should implement, retain, and maintain, you need to measure your performance at those processes that configuration management supports. You should also try and measure configuration management at the same time to see the value it brings, even though that will be an indirect value. Joe the IT Guy writes this:

Measuring your configuration management processes only against the guidance laid down by COBIT, ITIL, IEEE or anyone else, only tells you if you’re doing what someone who has never seen your organization write down before. It doesn’t tell you how much value you’re getting back from your spend on configuration.

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