On Change Management, Serena Says Dont Be a Hero
Change management is the process of tracking modifications and additions to an enterprises existing library of application code, knowing who made what change, why and with what result.
For change management to work, it must have a capability to cross platforms and manage a set of changes across interrelated applications. Web services are often connected to back-end systems by a tangled set of interdependencies.
If a revision causes dysfunction with other systems, change management allows the system administrator to roll the modifications back to the most recent version that works with other interdependent systems, explained Chuck Henderson, director of change management software marketing with Burlingame, Calif.-based Serena Software.
Serena, one of the oldest names in change management on the mainframe, has a new story: it can produce Enterprise Change Packages that "can link a mainframe application to a distributed system and manage all the dependencies" across them, said Tony Stayner, vice president of marketing. Recent additions to its WCM (Web Code and Content Manager) enable it to manage content changes as they occur.
"Changing versions of code is often a matter of individual heroics," said Stayner. A talented programmer or original author of a program can work the entire weekend to implement a major change, then that single person is the only one who understands where the changes are and what they do. ChangeMan products avoid individual heroics, he noted, and document the steps of a change for follow-up programmers to see and understand.
Founded in 1980, Serena is a publicly traded company with 2000 revenues of $120 million. It still offers a mainframe change management product, ChangeMan ZMF, or a change manager for the zSeries server, formerly the IBM System/390. In addition, Serena offers ChangeMan DS for distributed systems, including Windows, Unix, Linux and the IBM AS/400.
Earlier this week, Oct. 15, Serena introduced Enterprise Change Packages, which link changes in distributed systems to changes in mainframe systems. Primarily a linkage between ChangeMan ZMF and ChangeMan DS, the solution gives system administrators a single point of control over a set of applications providing a new customer-facing service, Henderson said. Through the Enterprise Change Packages, a system administrator can toggle back and forth between the mainframe side and the distributed side to make sure a required set of changes is cascading through all systems and will be ready at the same time, he noted. The package gives the administrator a common set of reports, even though she may be looking at different platforms.
In addition, Serena introduced ChangeMan ECP 3.1, or enterprise change portal, which gives managers a browser-based means of viewing the applications for which they are responsible. ChangeMan ECP is part of the Enterprise Change Packages.
ChangeMan WCM provides a similar single point of supervision for content changes coming from diverse contributors seeking to coordinate their efforts with content editors, reviewers and approvers. Regardless of what type of final display the content may be presented in, all content is stored in a shared change management repository underlying ChangeMan WCM, which was introduced in April.
According to Stayner, a recent Yankee Group study confirmed that change management results in a 20 percent improvement in system uptime and a 15 percent reduction in maintenance costs.
"We try to get away from individual heroics. We try to get away from a few people knowing things in their heads" that the rest of the organization cant track or duplicate, he said.