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The main goal of change management is to ensure that standardized methods and procedures are used for the efficient and prompt handling of changes in IT systems, in order to minimize change-related incidents and service-delivery disruption. To meet this goal, it is of paramount importance reusing the experience acquired from previous changes in the design of subsequent ones. Two distinct approaches may be usefully combined to this end. In a top-down approach, IT operators may manually design change templates based on the knowledge owned/acquired in the past. Considering a reverse, bottom-up perspective, these templates could be discovered from past execution traces gathered from IT provisioning tools. While the former has been satisfactorily explored in previous investigations, the latter - despite its undeniable potential to result in accurate templates in a reduced time scale - has not been subject of research, as far as the authors are aware of, by the service operations and management community. To fill in this gap, this paper proposes a solution, inspired on process mining techniques, to discover change templates from past changes. The solution is analyzed through a prototypical implementation of a change template miner subsystem called CHANGEMINER, and a set of experiments based on a real-life scenario.
Date of Conference: 1-5 June 2009