Change Management

The causes of Data Disasters include natural disasters like fire, floods, ice storms, & earthquakes. But these are rare compared to the more ordinary data disasters caused by human error or malice. The discipline of Change Management seeks to reduce the very real risk that changes to a working system may cripple the system. The 'Laws of Unintended Consequences' may have been developed long before computer systems, but they apply to computer systems more than some others.

Enterpise-level systems provide software for requesting, evaluating, planning, and tracking system changes from the original request through the delivery of software and hardware to effect the change. In a software office an ARF-Action Request Form is available on-line that ties to the change management system to be provide a clear audit trail that details every phase of the management of a system's hardware and software configuration.

Change Management Process Overview

Change management is a formal process for directing and controlling alterations to the information processing environment. This includes alterations to desktop computers, the network, servers and software. The objectives of change management are to reduce the risks posed by changes to the information processing environment and improve the stability and reliability of the processing environment as changes are made. It is not the objective of change management to prevent or hinder necessary changes from being implemented.

Any change to the information processing environment introduces an element of risk. Even apparently simple changes can have unexpected effects. One of Management's many responsibilities is the management of risk. Change management is a tool for managing the risks introduced by changes to the information processing environment. Part of the change management process ensures that changes are not implemented at inopportune times when they may disrupt critical business processes or interfere with other changes being implemented.

Not every change needs to be managed. Some kinds of changes are a part of the everyday routine of information processing and adhere to a predefined procedure, which reduces the overall level of risk to the processing environment. Creating a new user account or deploying a new desktop computer are examples of changes that do not generally require change management. However, relocating user file shares, or upgrading the Email server pose a much higher level of risk to the processing environment and are not a normal everyday activity. The critical first steps in change management are (a) defining change (and communicating that definition) and (b) defining the scope of the change system.

Change management is usually overseen by a Change Review Board composed of representatives from key business areas, security, networking, systems administrators, Database administration, applications development, desktop support and the help desk. The tasks of the Change Review Board can be facilitated with the use of automated work flow application. The responsibility of the Change Review Board is to ensure the organizations documented change management procedures are followed.

Change Management Details

The change management process is as follows:

Change management procedures that are simple to follow and easy to use can greatly reduce the overall risks created when changes are made to the information processing environment. Good change management procedures improve the over all quality and success of changes as they are implemented. This is accomplished through planning, peer review, documentation and communication.

This article is from Wikipeida's Change Management (ITSM).