As businesses compete for market position and share, the requirement for IT to be flexible and adaptive regarding the services it offers is paramount. The availability of IT services is crucial to almost all businesses, in addition the businesses demand the IT department to consistently deliver changes effectively and efficiently without any detrimental impact to the services.
Successful ITIL Change Management both protects the services to the Business or Customer, but at the same time facilitates Changes without unnecessary bureaucracy or control - ultimately it could be described as 'Change Enablement'.
ITIL Change Management aims to minimize the risks of exposure, impact and disruption to the service, primarily implementing changes successfully first time and thus saving time and money. The importance and value of an effective and efficient ITIL Change Management Process to both IT and the Business cannot be overstated.
Benefits of ITIL Change Management
Benefits of effective ITIL Change Management include:
- Increased visibility and communication of Changes to both business and service-support staff
- Improved risk assessment
- Reduced adverse impact of Changes on the quality of services and Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
- Improved assessment of the cost of proposed Changes before they are incurred
- Fewer backed-out Changes, also back-outs performed more efficiently and effectively
- Improvements in Problem and Availability Management as they are able to use valuable management information relating to changes accumulated via the ITIL Change Management Process
- Increased productivity of Users as less disruption and higher-quality services
- Increased productivity of key personnel, reduced number of urgent Changes and the back-out of erroneous Changes
- Greater ability to absorb large volume of Changes
- Enhanced business perception of IT, improved quality of service and professional approach
The following problems may be experienced with ITIL Change Management:
- Over-bureaucratic process diminishes the effectiveness and is difficult to administer. Change Management is perceived as a bottleneck
- Scope of Change too wide, over-stretching staff and causing delays
- Cultural difficulties convincing staff, Customers and Users to accept a single Change Management system
- Compliance to the Change Management procedures by external suppliers
- Ownership of impacted systems unclear, resulting in delays and incomplete assessments
- Change Management implemented without ITIL Configuration Management results in solution being less effective
- Inaccurate configuration data, poor impact assessments, incorrect individuals consulted about Change
- Poor synchronization of upgrades between platforms and locations, makes it difficult or impossible to schedule
- Back-out procedures are missing or are untested
- Progressing Change requests manually is time and resource intensive
- Lack of Management support increases implementation times and staff resist controls unless they see commitment from manager
The following costs can be associated with ITIL Change Management:
Staff: Staff costs can include the Change Management role or team, the Change Advisory Board members, Change builders, Configuration and Release Management. The costs are outweighed by the benefits, as management spend less time on Changes as issues arising from ineffective Change Management are eliminated.
Support tools: The cost of support tools and hardware. Tools that integrate support for Change, Configuration and Problem Management and the Service Desk are likely to be more expensive than 'simple' Change Management tools, although additional costs are often justifiable. In larger organizations, management processes are virtually impossible to implement effectively without adequate support tools.