Configuration Management: What is it and Why do you need it?

Medical device companies and contract manufacturers will continue to see unpredictability across supply chains, market demand, sales forecasts, and skilled workers’ availability. In a year of such rapid change, automation throughout the organization will be critical to maintaining agility. Further, product and process configuration must be unified across the organization - minimizing handoffs of specialized information. This is why 2021 has emerged as the year of the connected worker.

In our most recent blog, we talked about the problems with technical debt - or the use of technology to complete a function that another tool should be doing. The result is a collection of siloed tools that do not integrate, cost more, and result in a poor user experience for both employees and customers. The same is true for device configuration.

What Is Configuration Management (CM)

Configuration management (CM) is a systems engineering process that ensures consistency of a product's performance, design, and operational information throughout its life. It is applied to a variety of systems, but most often, is associated with servers, databases/storage systems, operating systems, networking, applications, and software. It helps with project management, asset management, audit processes, software development, debugging, and more. Other benefits include:

  • Reduced risk of outages and security breaches.
    • In the event of an outage, you'll be able to recover quickly as your configuration is documented and automated.
  • Cost reduction.
  • Improved experience for your customers and internal staff.
  • Strict control of your processes.
  • Greater agility and faster problem resolution.
  • Efficient change management.
  • Better release management and clear status accounting.

What Happens If You Don't Use Configuration Management?

Configuration management is a necessary tool for managing complex software systems. Lack of configuration management can cause serious problems with:

  • Reliability - If the worst does happen, configuration management ensures that your assets are easily recoverable.
  • Uptime - A frequent cause of downtime is bad deployments, which can be caused by differences in running production servers to test servers. With our configuration managed properly, our test environments can mimic production, so there’s less chance of a nasty surprise.
  • The ability to scale - Configuration management ensures that you know what a good state of your service is. That way, when you want to increase the number of servers that you run, it’s simply a case of clicking a button or running a script.

Let’s explore an example. If your business operates on three shifts of eight hours, you need three sets of devices. Consider instead, having one set and sharing it amongst your employees. Whether it’s a dozen food service staff, a driver fleet of hundreds or a field services workforce of thousands, buying individual mobile devices for each shift worker can be pricey and come with many challenges. Enterprise mobility management (EMM) is designed to combat these challenges. It’s evolving to provide even more comprehensive (and specific) services for device and application management.

What Are Configuration Management Tools?

SOTI MobiControl is the EMM solution designed for any device, any form factor, any operating system (OS), and any mobile requirements of your business. It gives you visibility and control over where your business-critical mobile devices are, what they’re doing, how they’re performing, and what security or compliance risks they’re facing. In addition, MobiControl allows you to:

  • Deploy devices quickly and easily
  • Securely manage apps and content
  • Eliminate mobile device downtime
  • Optimize data delivery 10X or more

Mobile application management (MAM) tools allow organizations to manage mobile applications instead of hardware. SOTI Snap is a cross-platform mobile app development solution built for businesses. It empowers organizations to build the mobile apps they need quickly and cost-efficiently, without the need for specialized resources. Most importantly, SOTI Snap takes the cost, complexity, and coding out of mobile app development for your business.

How Do I Get Started With Configuration Management?

Where you start depends on where you currently are. Below are three different places you can begin your journey to effective configuration management:

  • Audit your software/hardware—What software do you currently have? What’s the state of it? Is it well documented? Are the setup and run instructions known for the software?
  • Perform a tools assessment—Do an assessment of what tools exist on the market for configuration management. Identify which tools could help you solve some of your configuration management problems.
  • Learn about best practices—It takes time and work to continually ensure that all new software is appropriately audited and tracked. Look into different key concepts and take your understanding how you want your configuration management processes to work.

We partner with SOTI to offer you a one-stop-shop solution for all of your configuration management needs. Schedule a consult with the team today, to learn more!

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