Data center transformation – the perfect to opportunity improve and enforce your change process 
When running a data center transformation project you are putting the whole IT organization under a lot of pressure.
 At the same time as you are doing a massive amount of changes the normal operation with releases and incidents have to work as normal, To not have rigid processes and work routines in place will make you slowly grind to a painful halt in the project and probably you will have a lot of escalations and unhappy people.
Also not to be in total control of the changes that you introduce will introduce risk and probably issues with quality, and the productivity will be unpredictable over time.
To avoid this you need to ensure that you have a rigid change process in place when you start. This will quickly pay off and after a couple of months and with the same resources the productivity and quality will increase dramatically.
In all the data center consolidation and relocation projects I´ve been leading I have always gotten a hockey stick when it comes to productivity increase. This is because of process immaturity and work routines not being optimized in the line organization. So, if you initially put a lot of focus on getting your processes and work routines in place in the beginning of the project, you will be guaranteed to see a steep upward going curve when it comes to the amount of changes being managed/closed per day.

So in short what do you need to do when you embark on your data center transformation/consolidation or relocation project?

  • Implement a project change advisory board (P-CAB) or enforce current line CAB to cope with the increase of changes and much faster turn around time 

  • Mark and track the changes initiated by the project to ensure visibility and traceability of project work load
  • Define classification if changes made by the project – minor, significant, major or critical, and agree with the CAB how they should be managed – for example minor changes
  • could be automatically approved.
  • Create written work routines including process and information flow diagrams to ensure that your resources can be onboarded
  • Train and onboard everybody that are going to be involved in the change process
  • Use a ticketing tool and if there already is one implemented use that. If not you need to put one in place that supports the ITIL v3 change process 

So why do you need to do all of this and what is the benefits for the project?

  • Predictability – you will have control over how many changes that will be closed per day, week, month
  • Productivity – you will increase productivity per FTE
  • Quality can be secured – by having a rigid process with defined information flows and traceability you will ensure quality of the work being done
  • Information awareness and traceability of changes being made 
  • Risk avoidance by having control 

And what are the permanent benefits for the organization?

  • Process maturity increases
  • Productivity increase since the same process will continued continue to be used after the project but with fewer resources
  • Information awareness and traceability of changes being made also for the changes initiated by the line after the project closes

Don´t miss my next blog about disaster recovery verification and implementation during data center transformation projects.
Magnus Manders, Capgemini Infrastructure Services Northern Europe
PS. I believe that everything should be virtualized until proven not possible.