Continuous integration offers incredible potential from an operational perspective, but it also presents major operational challenges that IT managers must deal with. An efficient change management program can play a major role in enabling IT teams to keep up with continuous integration difficulties.
Continuous integration is an emerging IT movement in which technology teams consistently update applications and services to meet end user demands. This trend has emerged in response to a combination of emerging technological movements that have combined to create a more iterative, frequent release and update cycle.
Looking at the Continuous Integration Problem
Agile development is central to the continuous integration movement. The rise of agile methodologies can prove integral to improving development efficiency, but it also presents unique challenges from application release and update perspectives. This is especially true as more businesses deploy service catalogs and attempt to respond to the consumerization movement.
The consumerization of IT movement has created an environment in which companies are trying to create consumer-like functionality in the IT department. This means hosting applications, creating a self-service catalog that enables business employees to order solutions based on their needs and delivering those services in a timely fashion. Essentially, IT teams are increasingly creating technology delivery methods that meet consumer expectations within the work place.
Doing this depends on building a much more responsive IT setup in which agile development is used to release frequent build updates and application batches. The end result is a situation in which IT teams are almost constantly releasing new applications or updating existing builds. This means a great deal of change and creates a need for advanced IT service desk functionality.
These factors combine to lead to increased use of DevOps methods that unify development and operations functionality. This creates a situation in which dev teams want solutions to reach end users as quickly as possible while operations workers want stability. Advanced change management solutions make this possible.
Establishing a Service Desk That Can Support Continuous Integration
The iterative model used in agile development makes frequent IT changes necessary. A basic help desk is likely going to be ill-equipped to support a robust change management setup. Instead, IT teams will generally need a more robust service desk solution to support frequent changes. This is especially true as organizations face rising regulatory challenges.
Organizations in sectors like government, healthcare and financial services need to be prepared for an audit at anytime and must be able to show the work that goes into IT change. It is almost like taking a math test in high school - the answer is not all that matters, you have to show your work to get credit for doing things the right way.
Having an IT service desk with change management functions and elements of automation can improve day-to-day operations to such an extent that companies can more easily support continuous integration. The benefits of this functionality go beyond operations, however, and can also lead to major regulatory gains.