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IT Department Company Benefits - configuration management & knowledge transfer

The following analysis outlines a conversation between LMC and the VP of Development of a company that provided custom IT solutions to its customers. In the discussion with the VP of Development, he conveyed an urgent need to improve configuration management and to implement a process that clearly identifies the responsibility between environment specification (Application Development) and operations and support (Infrastructure). Typically this is an undocumented, cumbersome communication process that causes "noise", disruption and unsatisfactory outcomes in service to its customers (Internal Development) and production. An ideal solution would report the differences between internal environment configurations, and transfer knowledge amongst the business units (Dev, QA, and Infrastructure).

The Problem
The Development Group has identified "noise" within the organization that was causing delayed releases and long build and test cycles. These include: push-back on infrastructure changes and access where application settings are concerned; Conflicting Infrastructure and Development rolls and responsibilities between the different application environments; the knowledge transfer between the Development, QA and Production releases in regards to environment configuration and settings; and finally, the need to simplify the communication of release notes and changes between environments and builds. This "noise" also extended into Support regarding non-code/software issues, configuration and environment issues, what we call non-functional requirements.

The Solution
Enterprise Technical Support Center (ETSC) offers companies with large internal development teams a platform for configuration management without a significant investment in tools, processes and training. The solution allows IT teams to clearly identify and enable clear responsibilities for the configuration, operations and support of all application environments. Using an application model configuration provided by the development team, the infrastructure team can accept the model environment specification and ensure that each release complies with the specification required by the application. In addition to the specifications, this solution enables cross training (knowledge transfer) and compliance of all the environments with clear defined roles and specifications.

The Benefit
IT groups will gain improved collaboration between teams and clarification of responsibilities (reduction in internal noise). Developers will net a reduction of 10% of internal support tickets recovering up to 40% productivity of Tier 3+ development maintenance and operational issues. Build and test cycle durations will decrease and the environment availability will improve. QA/Testing quality will improve by 20%. The beauty of the application model is that you define how much detail is included as new issues arise, and the model builds over time.
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