What is Change Management?
The Information Technology Infrastructure Library
IT infrastructures can very easily become enormous and complex, and managing that environment becomes a monumental task. Luckily, the ITIL, or Information Technology Infrastructure Library was developed as a series of processes and best practices to help standardize methods of infrastructure management.
Any changes inside the IT infrastructure need to be controlled, and this is where the discipline of Change Management is implemented.
So What is Change Management?
As the name implies, Change Management concerns itself with changes to any Configuration Item (CI) in the IT environment. Generally this change results in a new Configuration Item (CI), which needs to be recorded in the configuration management database, or CMDB.
Change Management is considered part of the Service Transition phase of the ITIL process. This is because a configuration item that has been changed is moving from a design and testing phase, into production.
Change Management generally concerns itself with any hardware or software within the IT environment, but in the case of documentation items that are part of the CMDB, requests to change these would be considered Change Management as well.
Initiating the Change Management Process
Change Management is event based, and is triggered by a change request. A change request usually has 4 distinct values.
The first is that the request for the change usually comes from the senior level, be it a manager or a senior analyst. Final approval usually rests withing the management structure.
Change requests also need to be assessed as having zero or minimal impact on the IT infrastructure. The requests also need to result in a new configuration item, otherwise nothing has been changed.
Finally, for the change management process to be effective, the change request needs to provide a value to the business, either in the form of a new service for the Service Portfolio or as an enhancement that will provide business improvements or savings.
Change Management Responsibilities
The Change Management process is a very administratively focused discipline that consists of multiple key performance indicators. The first responsibility is to filter changes, usually against the needs of the business, and to determine the inherent value of the change. After queuing the change, the change manager traces the change through the system, managing it’s life-cycle.
Change Management is also responsible for the Change Advisory Board, or CAB, which usually has the authority over which changes are implemented. The CAB is usually made up of the Change Manager, members representing the business side of the organization, and other stakeholders in the ITIL process.
The Change Manager also manages the requests for changes through the life-cycle, and are responsible for closing them, either when the change is implemented or when the CAB advises that the change is unnecessary.
Lastly, the Change Management person is responsible for the reporting of the changes in the business. Reporting is critical in uncovering potential issues in the organization, as an example a new piece of procurement software that has 4 times the change requests of other software may have development halted as it takes up to many resources.
The Change Management process provides significant control in the IT infrastructure, and ideally provides value to the business, when executed properly.