Understanding Change Management and Its Importance Within Your Organization

Did you know that a significant number of IT incidents occur when someone makes a change to one system that then affects other systems in unexpected ways? (Some will even assert that poor change management accounts for 80% of all tickets!)

Change management is a critical component of improving an organization’s IT maturity. But for change management to work, you need to understand the ITIL standards that are the foundation of proper change management. Without this understanding, you’ll continue to see a drain on your IT resources every time a change is made within your organization.

What is Change Management?

Change management is the discipline that guides how an organization prepares, equips and supports individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive success and outcomes. Proper change management is a core component of the ITIL framework.  For organizations looking to improve their maturity around IT Service Management, this is a great place to start.  From the roll out of new technology to changes in processes or procedures – change management is everywhere. Without proper change management principals in place, an organization may struggle to deliver results and drain valuable IT resources in the process.

Within IT departments, most organizations use IT Service Management (ITSM) platforms to effectively manage the change management process. With the right tool, you can identify and avoid issues that that could impact your existing services – meaning your IT resources will spend less time fixing failed changes and can focus on more proactive projects. 

Did you know poor change management can account for nearly 80 percent of all IT tickets?

In addition, many organizations follow the ITIL framework standards for change management. Within this framework, the objective of change management is to mitigate the risks and impacts of the change you are implementing. Following ITIL, it’s important to consider each of the following when rolling out a change:

  • The reduction of risk and impact
  • The maintenance of the current working state
  • The communication around the roll out and approval management
  • Effective change planning with optimized resources
  • The reduction in the number of incidents due to change execution

By using ITIL’s change management process, you can mitigate the unforeseen consequences and downtime that stems from improper or non-existent planning and controls. By managing and documenting changes, you can avoid the flood of major – often avoidable – issues.

Change Management in Action

For organizations undergoing rapid growth with limited IT resources, change management should be a priority. At Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) they were struggling with unforeseen issues after each technology-related change. Using TeamDynamix for their ITSM, they were able to build out a comprehensive and well-thought-out change management strategy to address their issues.

“We set up a special form within the system called a change form, and whenever a production change is pending, we have the technical lead fill out that form,” Geri Hein, project manager within the university’s IT division, said. For larger changes, the change form is routed to a change control team that consists of Hein, a business analyst, the managers of the university’s IT infrastructure and database groups, and the IT director.

This process has increased communication within the IT division and helped with troubleshooting problems.

Now, whenever a change is coming, the key people who need to be aware are automatically notified in advance, so they can weigh in if they foresee any risks or dependencies in order to ensure a smooth transition. Changes are linked automatically to the ticket calendar feature within TeamDynamix, so IT staff can easily see which changes were made on which days.

“If there’s a problem, we can go to the calendar and determine whether it was related to a particular change or not,” Hein says. “There have been a few instances where our infrastructure team made changes that we didn’t think would cause problems with our ERP system, but they did. [Because of the change management process] we were able to track it back to the right source and easily resolve the issue.”

To read more about NEOMED’s experience, or other TeamDynamix customers, check out our Customer Spotlights.

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