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IT and technology innovation leads to new changes within the organization. To remain competitive, it is crucial for businesses to adapt faster to the changing trends. However, it is important to not interrupt the current working state while implementing these changes. ITIL Change management helps businesses to deploy new changes without any disruption or downtime. ITIL change management follows a standard operating procedure to eliminate any unintended interruptions and includes change assessment, planning and approval.
Change management process is a gatekeeper which ensures minimum risk and impact to the ongoing Infrastructure & Operations. Change management includes pre-release activities such as roll out, back out planning and scheduling of changes. It performs quality control checks to ensure change and release activities are as per planned.
The primary objective of ITIL Change management is to mitigate risk and impact. Change management does the authorization to approve any change to be deployed. It protects the production environment while executing a new change. Following are the objectives of ITIL Change management process.
Reduction of risk and impact
Maintenance of current working state
Communication and approval management
Effective change planning with optimized resources
Reduction in number of incidents due to change execution
Implementing a new data center
Deploying a bug fix to production environment
Replacing ERP service provider
ITIL Change management process includes different steps that capture every detail about a change request for future tracking. These processes ensure that the change is validated and tested before it moves to deployment. Release management process is responsible for successful deployment. Change Manager handles planning & evaluation whereas Release Manager takes care of the actual implementation of the change. The change management process flow looks something like this:
Request For Change (RFC) is submitted to the change management team for validation and approval. Change requests occur from one of the following sources.
An Incident that causes a change
An Existing problem that results in a change
An and user requesting for a new change
Change as a result of an ongoing maintenance
Reason for change - Justifies why change is needed along with risk/benefit analysis.
Impact & Risk assessment - Potential Impact and risk are calculated and documented including configuration items, CIs.
Cost benefit analysis - Estimated cost versus potential benefits are compared.
Implementation planning - Steps for implementing change that includes project members, timelines and methodology.
This stage handles change evaluation and planning activities. It includes prioritization and planning activities to minimize risk and impact.
Prioritization - Determine the type of change and prioritize the requests accordingly.
Scheduling - Check the Release schedule to get an estimated time frame and fix the planned start date and end date
Roll out plan - Plan out the implementation activities
Back out plan - Back out plan in case of unexpected setbacks
Any change request that comes in, needs to be approved. The Change management team handles end to end communication and approvals from Change Advisory Board (CAB). Change approval is crucial to eliminate any execution failure and downtime. Approval process varies according to the change type. For example, a major change like ERP solution replacement requires approval from CAB as well as management whereas a standard change like patch deployment does not require any CAB approval as they are pre-approved. Change request is approved only if all the CAB members approve it. Upon rejection, reassessment review is done and submitted again for CAB approval.
Change implementation is handled by Release management team and Post Implementation Review (PIR) is taken care of, by the Change management team. Release management team follows their own processes that involve planning and testing. Change review happens once the implementation is completed to ensure everything has gone according to the plan The existing change management process is constantly reviewed and updated wherever necessary.
Change management is closely associated with ITIL modules such as incident management, problem management, release management and CMDB to share updates. This association is essential to maintain information consistency.
Change management might involve changes to Configuration Items (CIs) that are part of Configuration Management Database,CMDB. CMDB manages relationships across devices and Change management process understands this relationship and impact before rolling out any new deployment. If a particular asset has multiple dependencies or relationships with other assets, then the impact is high. Associate the right CIs, that might be impacted due to the change or caused the change to occur and update this information within the CMDB.
The main objective of Change management process is to ensure that the planned change is under control and release management takes care of the actual implementation of planned changes. It is crucial to differentiate the roles & responsibilities of change and release management to avoid any conflict. Successful change leads to new release and change management coordinates with release for build, test and implementation plan.
Incidents are directly linked to a change when there is a need to roll out new implementations. For example, The IT team identifies that the recurring WiFi issues are due to a faulty router. In this case, the team replaces the old router with a new one through ITIL Change management process. If the root cause is unknown, then incident is linked to a problem to perform Root Cause Analysis (RCA). The goal of incident management is to restore services as soon as possible and change management finds out a permanent solution. End users report an Incident which may be converted to a change record, handled by change management team.
Change management, as a process is crucial for businesses to have a quality check and deploy new changes seamlessly. While changes are inevitable, it is important to streamline this process with a predefined process. Effective change management results in risk reduction, cost optimization and faster time to market.
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