Does your IT department notify you of software updates or changes before they start? Do they set up interim procedures for employees to report service issues during scheduled updates?
Today, many enterprises report more than 70% of all change initiatives fail – an astounding number. Why is this?
The change management process of IT managed services enables a business to make controlled IT changes with minimal disruption to IT services, reducing the time of service delivery while aligning with business objectives. To minimize risks in making IT changes, a cohesive communications plan that is built and tested alongside all other phases of change management is a critical component of its success. When all the right people are involved – the technical manager, the business manager, the people making the change and the business users – all the right tools are provided, and all the right fallback actions are tested, it goes a long way to ensuring a comprehensive and successful change.
“It’s very important that you know when a change is coming, how it’s going to affect your Digital Users and that they know what to do when the change occurs,” says Brenda Lichtenberg, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Portfolio. “If your Digital Users are not informed, or they don’t understand the change, they will be very slow to adopt the results. So organizational change management alongside Change Management is key.”
Since every IT environment will change over time, a change management communication plan should support the two main expectations companies have of the services provided by IT: they are stable, reliable and predictable and they should be able to change quickly to meet evolving business priorities.
Nuts & Bolts of the Change Approval Process
In a formal change management approval process, a change manager leads a change advisory board, or CAB, consisting of business unit leaders most affected by the change through a review of its IT components and their impact on the business. This process involves the communication plan, associated training and transitioning procedures. It can identify additional changes required for success, due to downtime and other business reasons. For instance, a business unit manager may not want to take the risk of executing IT changes during normal business hours, so they would be scheduled after hours, on the weekend or during slow volume times.
Once the CAB approves a change and it is scheduled on the change calendar, the IT department will get to work, planning the execution of the change. There are different types of change:
- Normal changes, with a singular process of documentation and approval
- Standard changes, such as applying patches, with a process that documents repeatable step-by-step procedures for implementation that can be presented to a CAB for pre-approval, helping to fast-track the change after it’s determined no conflicts can occur with other changes scheduled at the same time
- Emergency changes, with an expedited process of documentation and approval for immediate implementation. Note: sometimes the required documentation is completed after a crisis has been averted
“To get people to understand and adapt to the reasoning behind the change approval process, we need a consistent, top-down buy-in,” says Senior Service Management Process Architect Matt Celmins. “We need to make sure as we develop the process that we are thinking about enforcement points and what we’re going to require of all of our change owners and implementers, and clearly communicate the expectations to them about what those requirements are.”
The change management process also generates pre- and post-implementation documentation critical to measuring the success of change. Analytics provides a focused viewpoint for changemakers to determine why a change is successful -or not.
Want to continue the conversation? Take a listen to episode three of the all-new Bell Techlogix podcast, Transformative IT Service Management.
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