Enterprise networks are getting increasingly complex. Software-defined networking, increased dependence on fiber-optic cabling formats, growing wireless connectivity demands and rapidly escalating data transmission requirements are coming together to put a significant strain on longstanding connectivity architectures. These trends are having diverse impacts on businesses, with each providing unique challenges while generating cumulative disruption. The result is simple - enterprise networks are in a state of constant change.
For the longest time, businesses would design, deploy and maintain network systems with the idea that the core architecture put in place would remain intact for an extended amount of time. You may have to make some moves, adds, or changes, but the frequency and complexity of those processes made them relatively easy to control. Those days are gone. You may build a new Wi-Fi network one year only to find that new mobile device demands are pushing you to segregate the Wi-Fi system to separate internal users relying on the network for casual functions, employees depending on it for critical resources, and guests who expect Wi-Fi everywhere. These kinds of challenges are fueling a wave of network flexibility, and your organization must be ready for frequent demand for flexibility.
Moves, adds, and changes to enterprise and data center systems are incredibly complex, especially as hardware is extremely inter-dependent. A good change management solution is vital here; it helps you schedule changes and build proper checks and balances into your network operations to minimize downtime. Three ways change management solutions can help you handle network moves, adds and changes include:
1. Making Sure Employees Don't Take Shortcuts
Following best practices is critical when employees are handling network equipment. For example, something as simple as forgetting to label wires when installing them can make it nearly impossible to be certain of what the implications of unplugging a cable will be. Furthermore, as you may need to handle network equipment when making changes to server and storage hardware, you must always understand the specifics of how those changes will impact the configuration.
A good change management platform will let you set automatic reminders for users as they complete various changes. If you have an employee handling a network-related ticket, you can build in necessary process checklists to make sure everything is performed correctly. Any shortcuts create complexity later down the line, adding to the total cost of ownership for your network. Change management helps you ensure internal process compliance.
2. Optimizing Schedules
Scheduling changes effectively is key when interacting with the network. If you need to replace a switch, that could cause users to experience downtime or performance disruption for the entirety of the project. Having employees unable to access the network is disastrous for productivity. However, a change management system that includes business intelligence tools can help you identify the optimal time to perform that maintenance during work hours, or help you analyze your schedules to identify the best way to handle the change after hours.
3. Recover Quickly
Mistakes happen, and when they do, you must be ready to get things back to a functional state in a hurry. Modern change management solutions increasingly feature built-in document management tools, ensuring that, if a change goes wrong, you can quickly track down an audit trail and systematically undo processes to return the configuration to stability.
Managing the network is getting more complex as moves, adds and changes happen with growing frequency. A good change management solution can help you deal with these challenges and maintain a stable connectivity system.