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Logistics & Configuration Management: Concept and importance

English

23 January 2021

Configuration management (CM) is a process used to establish and maintain the consistency of the performance of a product. This is thanks to a engineering system that also helps to establish and maintain the functional and physical attributes of a product, its design and operational information throughout its life.

This process is used with IT service management and with other kinds of domain models in the civil engineering, plus other industrial segments such as: bridges, canals, roads, and more.

The CM process is also used by military engineering organizations to manage changes throughout different systems, such as: tthe system lifecycle of complex systems.

Configuration management: Activities and benefits

CM activities

  • Identifying configuration items
  • Defining configuration items
  • Baselining configuration items
  • Controlling modifications of configurations items
  • Releases of configuration items
  • Reporting and recording status of configuration items
  • Reporting and recording any requested modifications of configuration items
  • Ensuring completeness of configuration items
  • Consistency of configurations items
  • Correctness of configuration items
  • Controlling storage of the configuration items
  • Handling and delivery of the configuration items

CM benefits

  • Reduces confusion
  • Establishes order
  • Organizes the activities necessary to maintain the product‘s integrity
  • Ensures effective product configurations
  • Limits legal liability
  • Reduces lifecycle costs
  • Enables consistent conformance (w/requirements)
  • Enhances compliance (w/standards)
Woman and man working on configuration management systems

5 Disciplines of CM

The CM process for both hardware- and software-configuration items comprises distinct disciplines which are carried out as policies and procedures. These help to establish baselines and perform a standard change-management process. These disciplines are:

CM Planning and Management

A formal document and guide that includes items such as: personnel, responsibilities and resources, a definition of procedures and tools, baselining processes, and configuration-status accounting, audits and reviews, subcontractor/vendor CM requirements.

Configuration Identification

Consists of setting and maintaining baselines. These define the system architecture and components. From an identified and documented system to design, development, testing and delivery.

Configuration Control

Includes the evaluation of all change-requests. It covers the process of controlling modifications to the design, hardware, firmware, software, and documentation of the system.

Configuration Status Accounting

Includes the process of recording and reporting configuration item descriptions, such as: hardware, software, firmware, and others.

Configuration Verification and Audit

An independent review of hardware and software. The purpose of this is assessing compliance with established performance requirements, product baselines, commercial and appropriate military standards, and more.

Woman working on configuration management systems

SCM: Software Configuration Management

The SCM process is looked upon by many as the best solution when it comes to handling changes in software projects. This is because it identifies the functional and physical attributes of the software at different points in time.

This means that this software performs a systematic control of changes to the identified attributes with the only purpose of maintaining the software’s integrity and traceability throughout its life cycle.

The SCM process further defines the need to trace changes. Also, the ability to verify that the delivered software has the planned enhancements that are supposed to be included in its release.

SCM identifies four different procedures that must be defined for each software project. These are:

  1. Configuration identification
  2. Configuration control
  3. Configuration status accounting
  4. Configuration audits

CM database

Information Technology Infrastructure Library or ITIL specifies the use of a Configuration Management System (CMS). As well as a Configuration Management Database (CMDB).

CMDBs are used as means of achieving industry best practices for Configuration Management to track Configuration Items and the dependencies between them.

CIs represent what is worth tracking and managing in an enterprise, such as: computers, software, software licenses, network devices, storage, racks and even the components within them.

The benefits of a CMDB include:

  • Being able to perform functions like root cause analysis.
  • Being able to perform impact analysis.
  • Change management and current state assessment for future state strategy development.

Do you want to learn about other systems? CHeck out this article about ALMSS.

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