Managing the configuration of an enterprise’s hardware and software can come with some inherent pain points. Undefined business processes, inconsistency with use and improper setup of configuration management software can set back deployment and operational flow. However, tech leaders, buyers, developers and engineers can all play a key role in improving the usability of configuration management tools by considering a few tips.
Clearly Define Business Processes
One of the many goals of configuration management tools is to the automate business processes that are typically conducted manually. However, if these processes lack a clearly defined plan, then it’ll be hard to justify the use of the configuration management tool. However, buyers and tech leaders can gain support for these tools by aligning their use with business planning and establishing practices that lack room for misinterpretation. This involves clearly defining the terminology used. They can then use the tools to streamline business processes and promote automation and even accelerate the process while improving usability.
Keep Changes to a Minimum While Maximizing Predictability
Because configuration management tools keep track of modifications to applications and the infrastructures of these apps, it’s important to identify changes. Being able to clearly understand any configuration changes is also a key strategy for keeping projects on task. However, if users make changes too frequently or make modifications that are unclear, then synchronizing configuration can be difficult. Instead, users should opt for minimizing changes and optimizing sorting configuration keys in an order that is predictable so that the next user can know where to pick up from where the last person left off of the task. More importantly, practicing consistency can also help maximize predictability. This will work to increase usability and improve deployment.
Account for Data Center and Tool Compatibility
Managing data center infrastructures can be complex and fragile. However, that complexity can be augmented if the configuration management tools that are used lack the capability to identify errors within an infrastructure. This decreases usability and can come at a cost. With enterprises spending millions every year on configuration management tools, it’s vital to make sure the tool can work both virtually and physically. This includes being able to support mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones. These tools must also be compatible with virtual platforms that the enterprise uses, including virtual networks and virtual machines. These tools should also be capable of integrating with current software development tools, software products used for testing and even version control systems for an efficient setup and to promote productivity. Thus, software buyers should consider whether or not the configuration tool will work in order increase the chances of usability within the enterprise and among IT staff.
Improving usability can be achievable with configuration management tools when using best practices. Software and service buyers can gain support for use of these tools by making sure they align with business goals and objectives for the IT department by clarifying business processes. Moreover, when changes are less frequent, more predictable and readable, IT staff can use the tool more effectively when synchronizing configuration. However, software buyers and IT personnel should consider the configuration management tools best suited to fit their enterprises’ needs. By choosing the right configuration management tools, users can not only experience improved usability but can also increase productivity levels.