Changes, no matter where they come from, from the organization or its environment, are an unavoidable event in the business of any organization.
One of the key activities of an organization that aims to satisfy its customers is definitely to adapt and improve its business processes and thus change management.
Change management is a key activity in the life cycle of any IT service with the aim of reducing disruption to customer service and business continuity. The change management process refers to the control of changes in parts of the system or the system as a whole. The goal of implementing changes is to implement them in a controlled environment and with minimal interruptions in the operation of the system in order to reduce the impact of potential security incidents caused by the change itself.
In order to manage change as easily as possible, it is necessary to implement the process of managing change requests and introduce an analysis of the risks and impacts that change can have on the entire business.
Any change must be adequately planned and a person must be appointed to implement it. Prior to the implementation of the change, impact testing on the existing system must be carried out.
All changes must be pre-classified and take into account urgent changes. The specificity of urgent changes is that in such situations the process should not be monitored in the form of documentation, but the same is carried out after the change is implemented.
Diagram 1: The process of change management in an organization
As shown in the previous diagram, the activities of the change management process are as follows:
Initiating a change request – a change request can be initiated by employees or stakeholders (user, supplier, etc.). The change request can be in the form of a documented request sent via email or ticket within the customer support tool.
Request Analysis – Each request received needs to be analyzed to determine whether the change is justified or not. If so, the competent person prepares a change implementation plan with clearly defined responsibilities and implementation deadlines. Also, the analysis includes checking the impact of the change on the existing system and other users of the service to which the change applies. If the analysis determines that the requested change is not justified or has a negative impact on existing business, the request for change is rejected. It is good practice to set up a Change Advisory Board in most organizations to approve and manage major change, which together with the change management team participates in assessing and setting priorities and oversees the implementation of change.
Evaluation of the request – after the acceptance of the request for change, the evaluation of the change is carried out according to pre-defined classification criteria. The classification of change requests is carried out according to the following criteria:
- priority (eg. high, medium, low),
- impact of the change on the service (eg. high, medium, low),
- impact of change on the user (eg. high, medium, low).
Implementation of change – implementation of change includes activities of introducing change into the system in accordance with the defined plan. In the case of urgent changes, ie changes that are critical for the user, they are implemented immediately after receiving the request, and the phases of analysis and evaluation are documented after the change is implemented. Prior to each implementation, it is important to make a backup copy of all information that is essential for establishing the functionality of the system to which the change applies. In case of failure to implement the change, it is necessary to determine the cause and start the process of restoring the system.
System testing – after each implementation of the change, testing of the entire system is performed to determine that its full functionality has been achieved.
Implementing all pre-defined process steps will ensure the organization manages change more effectively within the business. Changes will be planned and analyzed in terms of impact on the overall business, which will greatly affect customer satisfaction with the service provided.