Is a bulk data load a change

By ITIL from Experience ©

A large amount of data imported in an application is usually done by an administrator or a developer. It is seldom done by a user since it often requires elevated access permissions. These elevated permissions are there to reduce the possibility of inadvertently “messing” things up when using the application. A bulk data upload can be very risky for some applications. Loading bad data in applications that are driven by configuration data can result in making it inoperable.
One way application management specialists mitigates risks is by planning the change and using good release management practices. For example they:

  1. Backup the test environment
  2. Load data in the test environment to confirm that the result is as expected
  3. Schedule the load when the application is not in use by the business (in case the result is not as expected so that it can be restored from backup)
  4. Backup the application’s production data or database
  5. Upload the data
  6. Validate that the result is as expected –or- restore from backup

Given that every change has an element of risk, change management mitigates them by using standardized methods and procedures thus, a bulk data load is a change and requires a Request For Change (RFC). It also meets all aspects of the ITIL definition of a change.1

Nonetheless bulk data loads must be logged as changes if for no other reason than to help identify the source of application incidents caused by a new data import.

A bulk data load can be something that is performed on a regular basis and most often does not require coordination between multiple IT groups. It is therefore a great candidate for a standard change and steps similar to the ones above are a great foundation for a standard change.


More on Change Management

ITIL Process > Change Management

1. Definition of Change: The addition, modification or removal of anything that could have an effect on IT Services. Source: ITIL® glossary and abbreviations, 2011, http://www.itil-officialsite.com/InternationalActivities/TranslatedGlossaries.aspx


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