The challenge posed by managing changes to software configurations
Many companies still rely on paper-based systems or electronic adaptations of these to manage changes. Generally, these systems are difficult and labour intensive to administer, with no ability to automate the workflow or approval processes. Data held in paper and spreadsheet-based systems is vulnerable to corruption and can be easily lost.
A key element in Managing Changes is having an effective process in place to manage the workflow, ensure the correct level of approval and authorisation to initiate and close off the process on completion and provide a complete audit trail of all actions completed.
Process control engineers are all too familiar with the challenges posed by making changes to control systems on operational processes. They are also aware that many Management of Change systems adopted at the corporate level are not well suited to managing changes to process software configurations.
Asset Guardian’s Management of Change functionality was developed by a control engineer for control engineers. As such, it provides a solution to the challenges encountered when making changes to software configurations. Some of the features of Asset Guardian Management of Change functionality are:-
- Raising “change requests” and managing the approval and “close out” process workflow, including automated emailing of documentation to authorised individuals
- Management of timely approval responses, by alerting individuals when time lines are being exceeded and diverting change requests to others in the management chain, so deadlines are maintained
- Interlinking Change Management to other sections of Asset Guardian, such as fault logging
- Ability to customise “change request” forms to suit a company’s specific data fields and layout requirements
Asset Guardian helps prevent parallel software changes, which are not an unusual in today’s world of project globalisation, where activities are undertaken in different parts of the world, in different time zones.
The security built into Asset Guardian ensures that once a user has checked software out, it cannot be modified by anyone else until that user has checked it back in. It also encourages communication; if somebody tries to check out software that another user already has, it will notify them, thus flagging that the software is already being worked on.
In summary Asset Guardian may be configured to ensure that authorisation from all necessary parties involved is needed before a change is given the go ahead. Again, by using the user groups function, it is possible to set which groups of people must authorise changes and, if necessary, the order in which they must be given.