Managing Change is Managing Risk

Unfortunately, there are thousands of stories such as these, and many of these issues could be minimized or avoided, if change management was used. In each of these companies and situations, using a simple method of communicating changes may not have circumvented the disruptions, but it definitely would have minimized the downtime.

All businesses experience periodic disruptions and when they occur, CIO’s must rapidly respond. While utilizing change management doesn’t guarantee an elimination of problems, it definitely helps to avoid them. In preparing for this paper, Internet searches brought up many sites where outages were posted and resolutions sought. This research shows that many companies now know the importance of a robust change management process.

When considering the implementation of a change management process, there is one key principle to follow: make the process easy to use and IT resources will adapt quickly. Having been personally involved in many ITIL change management implementations, I can share the following lessons with you:

  • Announce your expectations and support for the implementation of change management.

  • Put the effort into learning about ITIL and spend the time and money to train the IT team.

  • Look for those individuals that are eager to get started and give them the authority to build a process that works for the organization.

  • Designate a change management leader: someone who can champion, sell and win support for the process.

  • If your organization is large, create a change management department to coordinate the changes impacting all production systems.

  • There are many software packages on the market that provide change management functionality. Find one that is easy to use and supports wide-scale changes.

  • Eliminate bureaucracy and let the people that build the systems, support the changes at the change meeting.

  • Consider implementing release schedules to make the change management process even smoother. Remember to keep it simple.

  • Change management is about communicating changes to avoid disruptions and to increase customer satisfaction levels.

There is much more information that can be shared on this topic but this article provides basic information on how to get started. Form information visit the official ITIL site or CIOUpdate’s sister site are great reference sitesfor the different approaches to service level management and IT service management.

Sue Bergamo is the former CIO at Aramark’s WearGuard & Galls companies. She can be reached at [email protected].