Change Management and Its Link to Release Management


Change management encompasses all changes in technology, systems, applications, hardware, tools, documentation, processes, as well as roles and responsibilities of people. A change could be anything from performing a server hardware upgrade, applying Exchange service packs, updating backup procedures, to simply adding a new user. Although change management takes a structured, phased approach, it should also be able to respond to urgent changes immediately, thus minimizing service interruption. In addition, it should be able to satisfy minor or standard changes with minimal administrative efforts.

However, change management without release management is virtually impossible in an enterprise simply due to the volume of changes involved. The goal of release management is to ensure that all changes are deployed successfully into the production IT environment in the least disruptive manner.

Release management makes the change management process more proactive and predictable. It groups a series of changes into a collection known as a release, which is based on defined common characteristics of the changes. In the case of Exchange server deployment, a release can be the building of a group of servers based on a defined set of roles. The single release of multiple servers with the same server build and a similar impact on the environment can be tracked easily with change management, thereby reducing management complexity.

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