ITIL & ISO 20000 Blog

Branimir Valentic

5 benefits of ITIL Change Management implementation

While growing and gathering know-how, IT service providers get more knowledgeable and experienced. That means performing the same job in less time, using less effort, and with greater efficiency. Many processes, i.e., activities are growing in maturity as the company grows. Sometimes, this ends up good, but it can also go in the opposite way. Building up processes and organization based on experience is OK if you are sure that you are going in the right direction.

Change Management belongs to one of the most important processes in an IT Service Management (ITSM) organization. So, the logical question is – why bother with some kind of “official” Change Management process and setting up clear roles and responsibilities? It’s simple – once you are responsible for the efficiency of the process (Change Management, in this case) – you will know. Free will and improvisation will become your biggest enemies. You need a well-defined process and you need an “ally” (i.e., why would you start from scratch and experiment while setting up the process?). A Change Management process based on ITIL can significantly speed up implementation. Let’s examine the challenges that are in front of the implementation, and the benefits that an implemented Change Management process provides.

The challenge

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What I often noticed are contradictory situations – the Change Management process is seen as the “Holy Grail” (i.e., everyone swears that this is “the” most important and sensible process); but, at the same time, activities related to change management are performed  ad hoc (i.e., everyone does what he finds most suitable and, pretty often, when suitable). For the first part (“the” process), I would agree. Changes are becoming everyday activities. They have to be performed in less and less time without sacrificing efficiency. And they, at the end, always affect customers. So, an efficient or inefficient Change Management process forms your customer’s opinion about your IT organization.

On the other side, you need resources for the process. And you have to argue – why. Particularly if you have management who is not involved in the daily life of the ITSM organization, you will have to argue why Change Management is important, i.e., what are the benefits of the process implementation. Read the article Elements of Change Management in ITIL to learn more about the process.

The benefits

Being one of the most important and sensible processes, the Change Management process has to be implemented. But, besides “we have to implement the process,” are there any benefits that an efficiently implemented process brings? Because if you (and your management) are clear on what benefits the implementation of the Change Management process brings, it will be much easier to motivate yourself and your staff, and gain sponsorship from the management. So, what are the benefits of successful Change Management process implementation? Or, to put it another way, how would you explain a need for implementation of the Change Management process in your organization? Here are a few of the most important ones:

Customer satisfaction is proportional to the efficiency of the Change Management process. Failed changes are visible to your customers and influence their satisfaction, or dissatisfaction, with services you provide. Customers are watching what you are doing – from announcing a change until the change implementation finishes. Keep in mind that customers pay your bill. Unsatisfied customer will maybe pay the bill, but certainly not for long.

Protection of services in the live environment – well, you should be particularly careful with live services. Every malfunction or new incident is highly visible. And, to be sure, your users don’t like them. As we said before, unsuccessful changes or changes that are handled with low quality are quite often causing new incidents on, you guessed it – live services. Read the article ITIL Incident Management – How does it influence customer satisfaction? to learn more about the relationship between incidents and customer satisfaction.

Reduction in number of unauthorized changes – that is a test of your management skills. Meaning, unauthorized changes happen when there is no process in place, or where the process is not managed and monitored. Let’s say – you are responsible for an ITSM organization. I’m sure you would like to have an organized environment around you (e.g., processes, roles, responsibilities, tools, etc.). So, a well-prepared and efficiently implemented Change Management process will certainty ensure that changes will be implemented in a controlled and managed environment.

Easier follow-up on business changes – it’s not a secret that the business environment is quite often – changing. And, IT services have to follow up. By having a managed Change Management process you will ensure efficient interfaces toward the business and success in implementation. That includes faster reaction to changing business requirements and efficiency of business processes after changes are implemented.

Improved staff efficiency – to explain this, let me ask you – do you like to work in a chaotic and uncontrolled environment? Most probably – no. So, neither do your colleagues and employees. They will appreciate a managed environment, which includes the change process as well. In such way they will know what their tasks are, what their responsibilities or other people’s are who are involved in the Change Management process, who is authorizing changes, etc.

Is that the end?

Well, it would be better to say – implementation of a Change Management process is just the beginning. Now, when you have implemented a process you have to start to live it and fight for your benefits. Namely, if you don’t ensure that everyone involved in Change Management is following the process, there won’t be benefits. Quite the contrary – a loss of efficiency and maybe even customers.

So, ITIL provides excellent fundaments, but it’s up to you to adapt ITIL recommendations to your own environment. Process efficiency and own staff satisfaction are a great motivation. But, once you involve customers – that’s the best measure to appraise how good your process is. If you don’t think about that, your customers will.

Use this free  ITIL Gap Analysis Tool to check your Change Management process compliance with ITIL recommendations.

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