IT Infrastructure Insights

Six Reasons You Need Better Change Management Reporting in Your IT Infrastructure

May 21, 2024

Share this:

Everyone knows the importance of change management for IT security, but visibility into workload and resource changes is crucial for maintaining smooth and efficient IT operations.

Imagine driving through a hurricane without windshield wipers. That’s similar to what it’s like managing IT infrastructure without robust change management controls.

“80 percent of unplanned downtime is caused by people and process issues, including poor change management practices,” according to Donna Scott, VP and Research Director at Gartner.

Similarly, the authors of The Visible Ops Handbook posit that when an incident occurs, 80% of Mean Time To Recovery (MTTR) is wasted on activities like identifying which change is responsible for the outage.

But it’s not just about preventing and fixing downtime. Change logs and management are essential for IT infrastructure leaders who want to facilitate strong mergers and acquisitions, improve transparency and accountability with MSPs, enhance regulatory best practices, and optimize spending.

CIOs, IT directors, and infrastructure leaders should improve their change management reporting so that…

  1. …mergers and acquisitions don’t devolve into chaos,
  2. …their MSPs have more accountability,
  3. …outages and bottlenecks can be prevented,
  4. …problems can be fixed faster,
  5. …wasteful spending can be avoided,
  6. …they can meet the recommendations of auditors and best practice evaluators.

1. Better change management reporting prevents chaos during mergers and acquisitions.

IT assets can make or break merger and acquisition (M&A) efforts. While mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures can provide enormous growth opportunities for all parties involved, there are serious consequences to miscalculations.

According to the Harvard Business Review, there are three risks in particular that can drag down M&A activities:

  • Failing to perform due diligence
  • Overpaying or overvaluing assets
  • Underestimating integration challenges

Change reporting and observability is integral to preventing each of those outcomes.

Without comprehensive (and comprehensible) reporting, acquiring or merging organizations can’t enter into this new relationship with eyes wide open about the impacts on their overall IT infrastructure. And they put themselves at a major disadvantage when they begin integrating IT environments.

Combining two infrastructure environments into one unified infrastructure is complicated and comes with endless challenges. The odds of something going wrong during this process are almost guaranteed – making a strong record of change activities indispensable for maintaining an orderly transition plus fixing and preventing problems during the transition.

2. Better change management reporting builds transparency and trust with MSPs.

If you partner with a managed service provider (MSP) or “as-a-service” vendor for any element of your infrastructure, hopefully you trust the partner you work with. After all, you’re giving them access, input, and control over major factor’s determining your organization’s operational stability.

Still, that doesn’t mean your partners should function independently. If a partner is allowed to act without transparent records of their activities, it puts both you and the partner at risk.

We saw this first-hand with a Visual One Intelligence customer.

When the customer first started using Visual One for change reporting, the customer’s MSP was wary. “Will they use these insights to interfere with our management or try to replace us?”

In fact, the result was the opposite.

For the customer, implementing change management reporting ensured that they could mitigate unintended risks and verify that service level agreements (SLAs) and other partner expectations were being met. Instead of using their visibility to interfere, they gained confidence from having it available as a check-and-balance in their partner relationship.

At the same time, like any good partner, the customer’s MSP wanted their client to have proof that they were meeting SLAs and exceeding expectations. By using Visual One’s change reporting alongside the customer, they were able to prove the positive impacts of their actions –strengthening their partnership by building trust and inspiring confidence.

By serving as a check-and-balance, solid change reporting can prevent partners from unknowingly taking actions that could negatively impact other areas of IT operations. And it builds trust for both parties, demonstrating productive outcomes and enabling better collaboration over time.

3. Better change management reporting prevents outages and bottlenecks.

How often do you find your team inundated with alerts and tickets because of a performance slowdown or capacity shortage? These constant interruptions are not just distracting; they waste time by requiring urgent and immediate responses at unpredictable intervals.

Even worse, however, is a dreaded outage. An outage can cost companies tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, bringing consequences for everyone involved.

While it’s important to be equipped to respond swiftly to adverse events like these (see #4 below), it’s much more efficient and productive to prevent problems in the first place.

By outlining recent actions, change logs make it easier to spot potential risks now or in the future. More detailed change reporting provides more direct cause-and-effect insights into how recent or future changes might impact performance and resource utilization.

For example, Visual One Intelligence performs anomaly detection and risk analysis as part of its routine change management reporting, identifying potential risks from recent changes in workload or resource allocations and activity while recommending better solutions.

It also enables teams to perform impact analysis with their capacity planning, evaluating the ways that hypothetical future changes would impact devices and workloads over time.

With better visibility into changes and their impacts, change reporting can prevent outages and slowdowns while ensuring the infrastructure can handle increased loads or new workloads without performance degradation.

4. Better change management reporting helps fix problems faster.

But what if a problem does occur? Challenges inevitably arise from time-to-time, and mistakes can happen even in the best of circumstances.

The only way to fix a problem is to know what caused it in the first place. That’s why root-cause analysis is an essential capability for infrastructure teams. While there’s no shortage of products that can help with root-cause analysis, it’s up to you to know the big picture of your environment and be able to identify the causes and effects that led to the problem.

That’s where change logs are essential. How can you confirm what caused a problem if you can’t see with certainty what actions took place? By reviewing the changes prior to a negative outcome, you can spot anomalies or red flags that might indicate the reason something went wrong.

And in advanced hybrid infrastructures, automated systems can even be configured to respond to certain conditions detected during change monitoring, helping to resolve issues before they have time to significantly impact performance.

5. Better change management reporting helps avoid unnecessary spending.

As more infrastructure capacity becomes subscription-based, charged according to overall consumption, it gets harder to prevent instances of overspending.

Unlike the purchase of a storage device – which typically draws from capital expenses and requires layers of approvals – cloud and subscription-based resources can typically be increased by more employees (with fewer limitations) whenever the need arises.

And sometimes it’s even easier than that: because of the way contracts are constructed, billing is often automatically increased (at higher rates) whenever usage exceeds contract limits – without anyone having to “approve” the additional cloud or workload costs.

It’s no wonder cloud cost overruns are so common and are one of IT infrastructure teams’ top priorities in 2024.

How does change reporting help? By monitoring changes in cloud resource utilization or workload allocations, teams can “catch” unintended spikes in spending or unnoticed waste much sooner.

For example, Visual One Intelligence’s Cloud Heat Map rapidly identifies any cloud resources that are increasing in size. That way users can evaluate and re-tier or make other changes if needed (instead of finding out at the end of their billing cycle that they’ve been paying pricy overage fees on a resource they could have simply adjusted).

6. Auditors evaluate change management and recommend change logs as a best practice.

Recently, a Visual One Intelligence client was told by their auditor that they needed change management controls which would better allow them to review changes in their VMware and cloud environments. Otherwise, they would be at risk of experiencing preventable performance problems – without a record of activities to refer to when tracing the cause of the problem.

With Visual One, however, they gained everything they needed. Visual One Intelligence comes with change management built into its reporting, including:

  • Executive reports that highlight the most important recent changes.
  • Change logs detailing every allocation and utilization change in cloud resources, compute workloads, and storage devices.
  • Visual reports highlighting unexpected or anomalous changes to resources and workloads.
  • The ability to easily email and export reports for auditing and monitoring purposes.

The client satisfied the auditor’s recommendation by simply leveraging the Visual One change logs and reviewing them on a weekly basis – a task simplified by Visual One’s automated delivery and interpretation features.

Change management and reporting are essential for maintaining the stability and performance of hybrid infrastructures. More than anything else, they must be accurate, accessible, and relatively simple.

When applied, this kind of change reporting enables unified infrastructure teams, optimized spending, better performance, and alignment with business goals – making CIOs and IT directors look competent and prepared.

By consolidating independent data elements into unified metrics, Visual One Intelligence’s platform correlates and interprets hybrid infrastructure data in order to illuminate cost-saving and operations-sustaining details that otherwise stay hidden.

There’s a lot to consider when evaluating software tools. That’s why we offer demos on-demand: no waiting, no sales pitch. Not ready to explore? All good! Follow us on LinkedIn or subscribe to our infrastructure newsletter to keep tabs on Visual One and hybrid infrastructure news.