All IT landscapes have to evolve over time. Old technology needs to be replaced, and current solutions have to be updated to meet tighter regulations and new needs. IT service providers must provide new solutions to meet business requirements.
As the digital age transforms many industries, the pace of change keeps increasing. It can be difficult for IT services to manage if they aren’t well prepared. That’s why the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) provides a set of best practices for change management that helps IT professionals prioritize and implement changes without negative impacts on customers or service level agreements.
In this article, find out more about ITIL change management and why it’s important for IT services.
What is ITIL change management?
As mentioned above, ITIL change management is a process designed to help identify and minimize risk when making IT changes. When changes to an IT environment are made according to ITIL recommendations, it is easier to meet the often-conflicting expectations of businesses:
- That IT services are stable, reliable and predictable
- That IT services can change quickly to meet evolving business needs
In order to meet both of these expectations, ITIL change management establishes standard procedures for managing change requests in an agile and efficient manner to drastically reduce risk and the impact that change can have on business activities.
Types of changes
There are several types of change requests, which are usually handled in different ways:
- Standard changes are modifications to the IT infrastructure or a service that have well-known implementation procedures and controlled risks.
- Normal changes are those that must go through a process before being approved and implemented. If they are considered high-risk, a change advisory committee must decide whether to implement them.
- Emergency changes take place when an unexpected error or threat occurs, such as when there is a flaw in the service infrastructure that must be corrected immediately. A computer security threat is another example of an emergency situation that requires immediate changes.
The change management process
The ITIL guidelines provide a framework that can be adapted to meet the IT support and service requirements of any business. The process can then be automated by service management support software such as iTop Professional.
Change control is an element of the overall change management process that is designed to ensure that changes are controlled, recorded, analyzed and approved. It usually includes the following activities:
- Create and record the change request
- Review the change request
- Plan the change as though implementing it
- Test the change
- Create an official change proposal
- Implement the change
- Review the change’s performance
- Complete the change process
The advantages of change management that follows ITIL guidelines
If you think ITIL change management seems difficult to implement, you aren’t entirely wrong.
However, the benefits of this approach make it worthwhile for most IT departments.
Better customer and user satisfaction
An IT department’s customer satisfaction is proportional to the efficacy of its change management process.
Customers notice failed changes, and this affects their satisfaction, or dissatisfaction, with the services they receive.
Protecting online services
Changes that are unsuccessful or are made using an unproven method often cause new online service incidents.
Online IT service malfunctions and incidents are quickly noticed by customers, who are not usually very happy about them. Fortunately, ITIL change management as part of an ITSM solution reduces the chances of these occurring.
Reducing the number of unauthorized changes
Unauthorized changes happen when there is either no change management process in place or the process is not overseen by the IT department.
A change management process that is well-planned and well-executed will ensure that changes are implemented in a controlled environment.
Keeping up with business change
Most companies are experiencing a fast-changing business environment, and their IT services need to be able to keep up.
With a change management process based on ITIL guidelines, IT services can ensure that their customers always have access to the latest IT solutions that take current issues into account, and that the solutions are implemented successfully.
The change management process helps IT services respond more quickly to changing business requirements and ensures that business operations remain effective after the changes are implemented.
Improving staff efficiency
To better understand this advantage, simply ask yourself if you would like to work in a chaotic and uncontrolled environment.
Most IT specialists thrive in a well-controlled environment that includes diligent change management. In this sort of environment, they know exactly what their tasks and responsibilities are, and they know what the other people involved in the change management process are responsible for as well.
SEI Team is here to help make your IT environment reliable and flexible
As companies compete fiercely for market shares, their IT infrastructure needs to be able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. However, this flexibility cannot have a negative effect on the availability of IT services, which is essential for almost all companies.
With a change management process that follows the guidelines, IT departments can make changes effectively and efficiently as often as necessary without any negative impact on services.
If you want to find out more about ITIL change management or start implementing 100% adaptable change management processes, contact us today.