ITIL Change Management and the Larger SME

October 1, 2008

Massive Change

Massive Change

In this previous post, I covered Change Management and smaller businesses in the SMB space. This one is for larger SME organizations (first post on ITIL Change Management is located here)

The official ITIL definition of the Change Management process is;

..the addition, modification, or removal of approved, supported or baselined hardware, network, software application, environment ….

But in simpler terms, the goal is to have change occur in the environment in a consistent and controlled way. And this covers any change in your Configuration Items (CI’s) within the IT environment –  your standard Move / Add / Change (MAC).

As I mentioned  in the post  for  smaller  businesses; The important point is that it must be managed.

Larger organizations are (by definition) more complex than smaller businesses, yet too often changes to the infrastructure are well meaning but unplanned modifications. These modification can cause things to break.

This larger SMB / SME complexity demands that more discipline be taken in the processes.

Three of the areas that require more discipline and diligence for larger SME organizations are;

  • Change Review
  • Tools
  • Management

Change Review

For  larger organizations, a more formalized change review process is required.

Quite simply, While the basic questions may remain the same,in a larger organization one or two people may no longer have all the answers;

What Changes are coming?
Why is the change required?
Has the existing configuration been reviewed?
What is the risk & impact (classification); low, medium, high?
Are there external factors affecting the change schedule?
what is the plan B?

Tools

The formalized text in the ITIL processes cover; build, test, implement, review, update CI.

Nice to read, but even as larger SME businesses, we don’t have the complete duplicated environmental resources of a GE or IBM.  Still at this stage of our business, software tools such as MS Word & Excel don’t cut it anymore.

By this point you have, or are considering, more formalized tool sets for managing configuration and change management. Depending on your size, and the granularity of your configuration items, the tool sets may be different. (CI granularity will be a different post)

But automation in the tracking and management of these is now required.

Management

As you might have noticed, by this time, management and commitment are required.

As this eWeek article by Paula Musich points out; (emphasis is mine)

Despite the discipline that change and configuration management tools can impose on managing server configurations, a continued lack of control over the process and procedures for change management exists.

Management commitment means;

Unauthorized changes cannot happen.

Configuration audits, must happen.

Change reviews must happen.

Failure to update the CMDB must not happen.
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