To Change or Not to Change Control Management

Mercury Interactive, which makes applications that manage larger pieces of software on a computer network, unveiled a new product that aims for the sweet spot of change advisory boards.

Mercury Change Control Management schedules and manages changes in the change management process, a place where modifications in software processes are choreographed.

The software ensures that alterations in the application and infrastructure don’t impede or halt business transactions at a time when applications increasingly impact business processes, said Simon Berman, senior director at Mercury.

The idea of Change Control Management is to help coordinate software changes. When these changes fail, they can lead to bigger IT failures that can quash business transactions and make a company lose money.

Mercury, which competes with CA, IBM, BMC, HP and a rash of other players with stakes in the multi-billion-dollar market for management software, is offering Change Control Management as a solution to help companies deal with the vast number of software changes they face.

Such software would seem to be important at a time when Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA are forcing more stringent record keeping and indelible information exchanges.

Some Fortune 2000 companies experience as many as 30,000 changes throughout a given day, and these larger businesses need to keep up with the changes and ensure they are in compliance with federal rules at the same time.

Berman said Mercury created Change Control Management to help change advisory boards (CABs), which pore over application enhancements, patches and changes to hardware, infrastructure and networks.

CABs review change requests for risks, bless or reject changes and schedule the agreed-upon changes for deployment.

But sometimes the changes cancel each other out, which can lead to application downtime and service disruptions.

Mercury’s Change Control Management alleviates this problem by identifying change collisions that threaten to slow business processes to a crawl and alerting CAB members.

The software pooling requests for change from a variety of service desk products into one window to be reviewed and scheduled. The application then pinpoints the impact of changes on networks, allowing CAB members to make more informed decisions.

The product, available today and priced according to the size of user implementations, also employs a calendar-like tool to schedule expected changes.

IDC analyst Stephen Elliot said the new product is unique in the sense that it prioritizes application changes based on business impact.

“I have seen the demo, and the interface is rather intuitive; aimed right at operations teams, change management groups, and application owners looking for help with managing application change,” Elliot said.

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