· Our network is too simple. This excuse could be a valid reason not to practice change
management--if you define too simple as contains no manageable network devices.
Plenty of small companies get by with a hub or two, so there is no room for error. But
you need look only as far as your Internet connection to find a potential failure point,
which means you need to make sure that your ISP practices change management (or you
could be without that Internet connection).
· We've always done it this way. Will you keep doing it that way forever, even as your
business grows more complex and your network grows more complex in response? Try
doing things a new way and see how many of your day-to-day problems are a result of
the old way. Adopting a solid change-management process may introduce efficiencies
you didn't know were possible.
· Our people know what they're doing. Even the most well-trained network administrators
will move on eventually, and you don't want them to leave with all of your network
secrets locked up in their heads. A solid change-management process, along with the
right tools, can make network administrators' jobs easier, give them more reason to stay
with the company, and, most important, provide a lasting document of your network so
that it truly belongs to the business, not a single individual or group of individuals.
· We don't have time. Implementing a change-management process can be time
consuming. One company I worked with spent nearly a week developing their process
and probably spent time over the next 2 months refining it. However, in their first full
year of using their new process, they had zero network downtime resulting from manual
configuration errors--down from 20 hours the previous year. They estimated that those
20 hours had cost them about $60 million (they process credit card authorizations over
the Internet). The time they spent coming up with the new change-management process
probably cost them $20,000 or so in salaries. The bottom line is that you'll pay now or
you'll pay later, and if you pay later--when the network is down--it will cost a lot more.
I could go on and on, and I'm sure you've heard unique and interesting excuses in your own
organization. Think of it this way: change management for network configuration is like a
seatbelt. It takes a few extra seconds to use, and adds a few dollars to the price of the car. Most
of the time, you never need it. But that one time you do need it, you're really glad you were
wearing it. Any excuse not to use it is just that--an excuse.
The Operational Risks
The obvious risk of not having change management is that an ad-hoc change will take all, or a
portion of, the network offline. Actually, that's probably the best-case scenario that businesses
face if they insist on allowing unmanaged change to their environment. One wrong change could
also result in everything from lost data to employee accidents. And then, of course, there's the
simple financial risk. How much revenue would your company lose if the network failed for a