What Is Change Management in IT and
How Can It Benefit Your Business
Just like any other complex aspect of the human world, the IT landscape of organizations and companies has to change over time if these complex structures hope to function and compete. This is what IT change management is all about and why it’s so important.
Even more specifically but very useful as a roadmap to implementing IT changes is what is called ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) change management. This is what we’re going to talk about now so that you can apply to your own organization, before its IT becomes too old to cope with new needs.
What Is ITIL Change Management?
It’s an essential and widely known rule that IT systems have to be updated and to some extent changed over time. Thus, a methodology for doing this is a good starting point. IT in any complex organization (and even many very simple ones) is largely an interlocking web of software systems, platforms, hardware and apps that can’t simply be disassembled ad hoc and on the fly without causing problems.
ITIL and IT change management offer a core set of best practices for guiding IT pros to update technology without causing organizational chaos. With ITIL, IT staff can prioritize updates by importance, implement them strategically and keep a specific purpose in mind as they do so.
ITIL doesn’t offer many prescriptive steps in which specific methods or hard and fast rules for IT change are described. Instead, it offers general guidelines that your organization can and absolutely should tailor to its own structures and needs.
This flexibility is vital to the IT change management ethic; because it means recognizing that your specific IT details might be very different from someone else’s.
The main function of ITIL is to help your organization create its own version of an IT change process that minimizes disruptions and risks while making IT changes that keep every hardware and software system you use running as smoothly as possible during the whole change sequence.
ITIL keeps two fundamental rules of IT management for companies in mind:
- That services should be able to adapt rapidly as new demands and competitive situations emerge.
- That services should stay stable and functional at all times while they adapt to changes.
In a nutshell, ITIL change management offers a roadmap of best practices for how both 1 and 2 can both be served at the same time without interfering with each other.
The ITIL Change Management Process
Change management for IT through ITIL may be flexible, but it offers a formal set of procedures for creating information technology change in your organization. It tries to do with as few specific methods and rules as possible so that your organization can avoid bogging itself down in details that might not even properly apply to its needs in the first place.
Here are several key things that IT change management means considering as you start to plan your own IT remodeling:
- Define all of your needs for change and rank them by priority order from most important to least immediately necessary.
- Map out how your IT interlocks so that the crucial changes you want to apply can be made while knowing what they’ll affect and where, and knowing how to offset these effects as much as possible while you conduct an IT update.
- Prioritizing changes based on which ones will offer the biggest impact with the least expense and focusing on those first
- Testing all changes as you implement them to make sure that they work properly and that nothing crucial has been broken or damaged.
- Implementing a constant data and software back-up sequence that gives you room for backing off from any damage and restoring anything lost during IT changes.
- Making sure your overall configuration management for your IT infrastructure is updated across the board for new hardware or software to interact smoothly with old IT structures.
Types of IT Changes
Not all IT changes are the same in their importance, frequency or level of risk for your company. There’s a sort of hierarchy of importance and danger to them. ITIL guidelines define this into three levels or change types. They’re as follows:
These are basic, low risk and frequent changes to parts of your IT infrastructure that are usually scheduled and approved in advance because they’re a regular and necessary part of IT maintenance. Standard changes should still be done carefully and diligently but they don’t usually involve catastrophic risk to your outward functionality. Some examples of these include replacing failing hardware with identical new hardware, adding memory and storage to servers or computers, or updating systems security software packages as needed.
Your IT staff should still be very careful about implementing even the most basic IT changes with an eye to security and correct steps. Major system failures or hacks have happened in the past because of absurdly small mistakes in updates to very basic IT systems.
Normal IT changes aren’t emergencies or extremely basic, standard scheduled changes. Instead, they’re the backbone of evolution in your organization’s IT. This is because these involve switching major or minor parts of your IT hardware, software and services for the sake of more advanced and powerful IT. Normal changes don’t happen at perfectly timed intervals and their risk levels can vary enormously.
Basic examples of normal changes include major, risky shifts such as changing your data center to a bigger one or they might include website changes that can be done with less chance of disaster and interruptions. All normal changes should be carefully planned before being done, even if they weren’t scheduled in advance.
The worst kind of IT changes are those you need to make suddenly, on the fly and without any prior warning. These are called emergency changes for obvious reasons and they’re some of the riskiest your organization will deal with, exactly because they can come in all kinds of forms and without any warning.
It’s still possible to make contingency plans for emergency changes, but even the best-laid plans might not exactly match specific real-life situations in their quirks. Having a solid IT staff with sound training in dealing with IT change in general is the best way to make sure that even emergency changes happen smoothly.
Examples of these changes include: sudden security patches due to an unexpected hack or data leak, a sudden server failure or possibly even a fire in your office that physically destroys hardware.
Planning for All Types of Change Management
You can make sure that your change management procedures are correctly implemented, scheduled and smoothly guided by ITIL guidelines by seeking professional external help. Alloy Software offers a comprehensive change management solutions that can help any organization make sure it has its IT management covered without pointless hassles. Our experts can offer a suite of IT change management solutions that let you avoid IT update turbulence to stay focused on fundamental growth. Contact us at any time