With enterprise process, common processes are established to ensure that servers, workstations, and applications are not changed unless agreed upon by the IT organization. It ensures that lessons are learned only once, that employee tasks are documented, consistent, and repeatable, and that ad hoc changes are minimized.
The first step in implementing an enterprise process is to establish a baseline for your enterprise. That is, current system configurations must be documented and a set of standard configurations established. Begin with the servers. Documenting server hardware and software configurations can be as simple as capturing screens with a screen capture utility and placing images in a Word document. For larger systems, tools such as Systems Management Server can automate the process.
For workstations, standard system builds or images with commonly used software should be established for groups of users. Systems can then be built from these standard images using a cloning tool such as Symantec Ghost. And changes to these standard configurations can be performed and tested on the standard images before propagating them to the larger user community, thereby minimizing the impact of driver and software glitches. Deviations from the standard builds for users with special needs should be documented in a database to ensure a complete and accurate picture of the enterprise is maintained.
Control User Permissions:
Maintaining the standard configuration on each user's machine is crucial to achieving a stable user base.
This means changes to workstations by users must be tightly controlled. For this reason it is recommended that users not be routinely given administrative rights. For those needing such rights, a process must be instituted to ensure that only authorized changes are made.
Engage Change Control Team:
Once a baseline has been established for the enterprise, changes to the baseline must be controlled by some authoritative body. A change control board is recommended which consists of representation from systems administrators, technical support, network security, and IT management. The board should meet on a regular basis and be the gateway for change requests, ensuring that each change is necessary, has been researched and documented as the best solution, and has been coordinated to minimize conflicts. Change requests should be reviewed and evaluated before board meetings, and approved requests should be documented as a way to maintain a history of enterprise changes.
Of course, exceptions to standard configurations and procedures will be necessary, and emergencies will arise. However, exceptions should be rare, and documented. And emergencies should be anticipated with appropriate procedures.
Enterprise process is the key ingredient in any enterprise coherence strategy. With a little investment, it will reap generous benefits.