Education Center

ITIL Change Management

1.1 Overview

The only permanent thing in the world is change, and changes are witnessed at a very high frequency in the IT infrastructure landscape. Technologies keep on changing and the existing systems require timely updates to keep up the pace with dynamic needs.

The digital transformation of the organizations is, in reality, improved IT management, eliminating problems, and equipping infrastructure to efficiently face the business challenges. Such a transformation involves making changes in the IT landscape that assist businesses in retrofitting new technologies to the existing processes.

As the change rate is ever-increasing, it is difficult for the IT teams to get them prepared and manage the digital transformations.

ITIL- the Information Technology Infrastructure Library offers an all-inclusive set of best practices, making it easier for the IT teams to efficiently roll out the required changes.

This article delineates the details of the Change Management of IT Infrastructure Library and also puts light on the best practices.

Table of Content

  1. About Change Management
  2. Change Management Process
  3. Benefits of Change Management
  4. Challenges with ITIL Change Management
  5. Best Practices

1.2 What is Change Management?

In the ITIL context, the term change interprets the modification (addition or removal) of anything, rendering repercussions in the services.

So, change management is the process of tracking and managing a change in the entire lifecycle, in a way to minimize the risk factors. An efficient change management process helps organizations in making changes in the IT infrastructure with higher success rates.

Change management applies to a conventional process of accomplishing change but the proper implementation of the process can empower the organizations with a greater volume of constructive changes.

Change Management facilitates these better changes efficiently in the following ways:

a. It assures that all the envisaged changes are weighed in advance in the context of the benefits, risks, and other impacts.
b. It helps in prioritizing the changes so that with limited resources the greatest possible benefit is reaped out of the efforts.
c. It includes a proper back-out plan to restore the environment state in case the deployment dooms to failure.
d. It ensures that the configuration management system is always updated. So the impact of changes is easily visible to all.

1.3 Change Management Model

The executives responsible for the management of the IT changes must always be aware of the changes that can make the whole process much more efficient. To get the best opportunity, organizations must leverage change models.

Change Models: In most cases, the changes required in a certain situation are similar to the changes made in the past. Based on the previous data, a change model for a standardized approach can be developed for implementing the specific changes. Such modeling not only streamlines the change process but also reduces the related risks.

Out of the change models, standard changes are the special cases. They come under the category of routine changes that have lesser risks. These kinds of changes are generally pre-approved. So need not be repeatedly reviewed and are considered as service requests.

2. Change Management Process

To implement change management in an organization, the very first thing is to set up an effective process.

The process flow of change management consists of six steps:

2.1 Submission

The first step of submission is the inception of the change, which involves the collection of the basic ticket information. In this step, the change requests are developed with the service desk tools. With the help of a change form, all the necessary information is collected.

The change roles are also assigned in this step and the responsibilities are delegated to various administrators with role-based access control.

2.2 Planning

As the name suggests, in this step the brainstorming is carried out. A well-planned strategy is a secret for success and the same is the case with ITIL Change Management. Here, the details like roll-out & back-out plans, impact in long terms, linked downtimes are documented and the change plan is interpreted by the administration.

2.3 Approval

The change plan envisaged in the planning step is interpreted by the advisory board and other authorities. They undergo rigorous research regarding the accuracy of the plan in alignment with the organizational goals and ask for the rectification of fudge factors.

This process can speed up with the automation of the step. Automating the approval also ensures that no requests are overlooked.

2.4 Implementation

Gaining the necessary approvals, changes are ready to be implemented. Monitoring the change implementation is done by the delegation of tasks or using a project.

The task is created and allotted to different operators from different teams to easily manage the work done by all those involved in the implementation of those changes.

2.5 Review

After the implementation, an all-inclusive review is carried out to ensure there is a disparity between the envisaged change plan and the implemented changes. If any discrepancy is found then it is cleared at this stage, without impacting the end result in the long term.

2.6 Closure

The last step of the change management records and tags the overall process as a success, failure, or a halted process.

3. Benefits of Change Management

An efficient Change Management Process has multi-faceted benefits for the organizations and end-users as well.

3.1 Benefits for the organizations

Organizations experience the following set of benefits with ITIL Change Management

  • Effective management leading to fewer change collisions
  • Rolling-out upgrades without affecting operations
  • Lesser chances of failure and downtimes
  • Accuracy is the classification and documentation of changes

3.2 Benefits for the end-users

End users are witnessed to experience the following set of benefits

  • Better interpretation about downtimes and accurate information on how long the interruption would last
  • Better service operations

4. Challenges with ITIL Change Management

The most common challenges confronted in the system include:

4.1 Failed Changes

During the management of the change process, a significant amount of resources, efforts, and time are at the stake. If the change plan fails then it can be too expensive for the organization. So it is wise to always keep a check and effectively manage the process.

4.2 Unauthorized Change

A change plan that is not properly approved or has not included the right stakeholder during the approval phase comes under this category. Such unauthorized changes may lead to expenses which the organization does not need and in absence of proper approval they get implemented in the IT infrastructure leading to other repercussions.

4.3 Emergency Changes

Emergency changes are the special cases requiring instant approval so that they can be approved as fast as possible. If unnecessarily a change is categorized as the emergency one or all the cases are uselessly being classified as the emergency changes then the changes demanding emergency approval for the good of the organization may get delayed.

It is always good to exercise caution in categorizing the nature of required changes.

4.4 Collisions

Change collision is the condition when two or more changes required to be implemented simultaneously are clashing with the requirements of each other, resulting in non-implementation of all the changes.

Collisions in the changes are the aftermath of poor planning. The planning step must be carefully undergone and a proper calculation must be made to avoid change collision.

5. Best Practices

Following are the best practices for ITIL Change Management

5.1 Classifying type of changes

Based on various parameters of priorities and requirements it is prudential to identify a change and its degree of priority in being rolled out. All the pros & cons must be carefully looked for before making any decision.

5.2 Different process for a different type of change

As the changes vary in degree of the requirements, a unique process to get those needs propitiated is of utmost need. Using the same process for all different changes will lead to delay in urgent ones and poor coordination in the modifications.

5.3 Defining Responsibilities

Role-based access control and clearly defining the roles and responsibilities in the project eliminates the confusion and makes it easier to manage the changes. The activities performed by an individual can be easily tracked when the roles and responsibilities are well defined.

5.4 Insights on risks and impacts

An all-inclusive analysis regarding the risks and impacts must be conducted at the planning phase. Then only the change approval board members can give their nod in initiating the process.

5.5 Effective Approval Mechanism

In absence of a proper approval mechanism, the unnecessary changes or the changes with lesser requirements get approved and implemented. Such ‘unauthorized changes’ impose unnecessary expenses for the organizations.

5.6 Effective Communication with the end-users

In the planning step, the calculation of downtime and interruption in the service must be accurately measured and such information must be passed on to the end-user of the services. This will result in lesser problems for the user.