Learning about Innovation in Configuration Management

An ITSM conference in Vienna and the BCS CMSG Conference in London

David Norfolk

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Published: 18th May, 2016
Content Copyright © 2016 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

I'm going to miss the BCS CMSG (Configuration Management Specialist Group) conference this year, which is a pity - I'm giving the keynote at an ITSM Conference in Vienna, dealing with the impact of trends towards the virtualised mutable business on Configuration Management practice and culture.

This is a pity because the CMSG summer conference (held on 7th June 2016 at the BCS offices in Covent Garden, London; registration is here) looks particularly interesting (although I'm sure my Vienna event will be too). In London, the BCS CMSG is also dealing with the need for innovation in Configuration Management as the automated business environment evolves, into virtualised and Cloud environments. Here is just a sample of the speakers:

  • Robert Cowham is talking about DevOps and the Hybrid Cloud;
  • Connor Shearwood explains that good tools should be invisible when supporting continuous delivery in a polyglot environment;
  • Michael Stroh is configuring the Internet of Things;
  • John Springall asks for SAM compliance by design;
  • Patrick Bolger points out that it is now time to rethink your ITSM;
  • Vawns Murphy explains how DevOps can take your operating model from good to great;
  • Kieron Dean offers hope for software license optimization in the Cloud;
  • Kaimar Karu, AXELOS's Head of ITSM, explains what the future holds for IT teams utilising the best of ITIL and DevOps;
  • Joe Biancalana describes the innovative use of Big Data analytics in Configuration Management;
  • and more....

Configuration Management really is the necessary foundation of the Agile mutable business. One still hears people say things like "we do DevOps, we haven't got time to waste on Configuration Management" but this makes little sense, if one thinks about it. If you are pipelining new systems into production at high speed, how are you sure that you are moving the right systems into production, and that you aren't pipelining systems that will cause future problems? Unless, that is, you know that you are covering all the stuff that is essential to delivering business services, in the right version/configuration, and that it has been agreed by the person responsible for that part of the business and that it is a version of the system that satisfies the appropriate regulations. This is all part of what Configuration Management assures - Configuration Management enables innovation and Agility, because it helps you manage the impact of change and maintain "just enough" governance.

Without Configuration Management there is nothing to get in the way of agility and rapid delivery - until you find you are delivering digital chaos and Something Goes Horribly Wrong. Then organisations suddenly become very risk-averse and Agility may well disappear in practice (although you will probably still talk about it as if it was real)...

Of course, although I believe that existing logical frameworks for Configuration Management still apply, I think that the associated physical "best practices" will have to change, to reflect the latest changes in the culture of automated businesses and in automation technology (Configuration Management should be part of the Cloud migration story, for example, even if it isn't often mentioned specifically). This is why these conferences. in Vienna and London, are so worth attending.

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