ITIL change management can help you achieve carefully managed change in your IT environment.
It provides a framework through which processes that govern how changes to applications, hardware, software, networks, environments and documentation should be carried out, can be defined and applied to your own business.
The role of ITIL change management is to manage these kinds of changes to IT in order to make everything as smooth as possible and minimize disruption and downtime, and ultimately to better align IT needs with the needs of the business.
Benefits of implementing ITIL change management can include improved risk management, better IT to business alignment, higher productivity and better value for money from your IT systems.
For many businesses the challenge can be knowing whether or not they need to implement the ITIL change management framework in the first place, and what the end benefits could be.
Working with a reliable IT consultancy can provide a great insight into ITIL change management and provide real world benefits to your everyday business.
This article takes a look at what exactly ITIL change management is, the processes involved and the end benefits for businesses.
What is ITIL Change Management?
ITIL Change Management is a process smart professionals use to strategically and tactically manage change within their IT services.
It differs greatly from Organisational Change Management (OCR) and the two should not be confused.
OCR focusses on the impact of procedural and organisational changes on staff and how those changes are managed. ITIL Change Management helps to solve IT related issues and provides better user interaction standards for both staff and customers.
ITIL Change Management is often only partially implemented in business, leading to a misunderstanding of it’s full potential.
Goals and end benefits of ITIL Change Management and how they help you
The goal of ITIL CM is simple. It aims to create standardised procedures for implementing and managing changes within IT systems. These standardisations make actioning change requests simpler and more efficient. It also helps to minimise risk and reduce uncertainty, leading to agility and better outcomes for business operations.
The benefits of ITIL CM are many. Of course, there are no guarantees that implementing this process will completely eliminate challenges. However, if it is used to it’s full potential, it can help to reduce and manage risk and protect your IT programs and services from avoidable errors. When standardised procedures are in place, disruptions to business and UX experiences are minimised. This helps to reduce costs associated with delays, data loss or poorly handled design changes.
Implementing ITIL CM can deliver many results, some practical examples of what can be achieved include:
- Simpler alignment and adherence to legal and other compliance demands
- improved risk management
- less interruption to service provision and reduced downtime
- higher levels of staff productivity
- more efficient and simpler implementation of change
- more responsiveness and agility when reacting to changes as defined process already in place
- better IT to business alignment
- less negative impact on business operations
- improved perceived and actual value of IT systems and change implementation
The change management process flow – step by step
In order for ITIL Change Management processes to occur seamlessly within your business, a logical process flow must be adhered to. One benefit of using this framework is that it is agile and flexible. It can be scaled up or down depending on the requirements of your systems, clients and staff. This suggested flow also has the potential to be automated, depending on the demands of your situation.
- Create and log the Request For Change (RFC – ) An RFC is usually completed by whomever requires the change to be made. Creating an RFC outlines the details of the needed changes, including authorisation if necessary. It is also recommended to include contact details of the requester and if possible a suggested implementation timeframe and cost analysis.
- Review Request for Change (RFC) – Every RFC must be reviewed for practicality, feasibility and requirement. There may be a designated staff member assigned to this role. Submitting an RFC is not a guarantee that the requested change will be made. Clarification and extra information can be sought, and requests can be modified or rejected outright.
- Evaluate the Change – The evaluation process should be flexible and respond directly to the impact the proposed change will have. If the RFC is relatively minor it may be evaluated quickly. Larger institution wide changes and changes that effect UX may be reviewed by a change assessment board, for example. The evaluation should take into account the risk of disruption to service provision, any other potential risks and other previously approved changes that are yet to be implemented.
- Approve/Authorise the Change – Once evaluated, the submission must be approved or authorised. As with the evaluation process, the approval should come from a suitable source. The appropriate level of authority is usually determined by the expected impacts and outcomes the implantation will have.
- Coordinate Implementation – A period of building and testing should occur before changes go live. Technical teams should also create redundancies to support current systems should the change perform poorly or fail. The authority tasked with overseeing implementation should schedule the launch with consideration for the current Forward Schedule of Changes. They should also communicate the change date and expected impacts on service delivery.
- Review and Close Change Request – A Post Implementation Review (PIP) must be conducted after the change has been implemented. This will provide insight about how the change has effected outcomes and whether or not it was successful. If there are no known issues the file should be closed. If there are errors or bugs the file must remain open while they are addressed. Implement planned redundancies if required.
Be aware that at all times throughout the Change Management process, communication and monitoring are vital. This will help to ensure the process is implemented smoothly and all parties are working ‘on the same page’.
Best practices for adopting and implementing change management
- Build a business case. Clearly express the value ITIL CM can provide to everyone involved from managers to IT teams.
- Define a change for your organisation. Define what falls under the designation of a change within your work environment.
- Define key roles and responsibilities. Clearly outline the roles involved (Change Manager, for example, or Change Approvals Board members) and what their responsibilities will be.
- Design your Change Management processes. The processes must be carefully designed to reflect your business needs. Communicating these processes to teams and staff will be vital.
- Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Identify how you will measure outcomes when using this method. You can use this to prove success and identify weaker areas with quantifiable metrics.
- Implement continual service improvement. Change Management effects every staff member, contractor and customer that interacts with your IT systems or is effected by their outcomes. Always aim for changes to improve the interactions.
- Understand your risk tolerance levels. Identify how tolerant your business is to risk and factor that in to the decision making process.
About Mustard IT
Mustard IT are a small boutique IT consultancy offering exception service levels to clients in London and Hertfordshire. Our experience means we are the perfect guides to help you design and implement ITIL Change Management practices into your businesses IT process.
Contact us today to start a discussion and see how we can help you.