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What is Change Management?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2016
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Change management is a defined, standardized process used in the information technology service management to coordinate and control all changes made to an existing, production technical solution.

Each organization can create their own change management process, based on the companies relative size and staff resources. Change management is typically the responsibility of the information technology department head or manager. There are standard functions and processes utilized throughout most businesses surrounding change management.

The standard process is a method of systematically recording all proposed changes to a production or live system, completing a cost/benefit analysis, evaluating the impact and risks, creating a business case or justification for the request and obtaining approval from the business process owner. Once approved, change management includes the actual implementation of this change, along with monitoring of impact, creation of a summary report and updating the status of the change request in a broader tracking system.

The purpose of a change management process is to have a systematic method of evaluating change requests, prioritizing, scheduling resources for implementation and the appropriate level of support. Within this structure, the system manager is responsible for ensuring the best possible use of staff, equipment and resources to meet the demands of users. The change management process covers all changes for hardware, software, support documentation and procedures.

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A management board must approve any requests utilizing the change management process. Functional department managers and senior corporate management is responsible for reviewing change request proposals and all attached documents. These boards are called Change Advisory Boards or Steering Committees. Included on this board must by a financial services department representative with sufficient authority to evaluate the cost of the change proposals and advise the group on the additional costs required and the feasibility of incurring these costs.

The department manager responsible for the change management process must have good communication skills, a functional or technical computer services background and the ability to bridge the gap between the business requirements and the capacity for the technical solution to meet these needs.

The change management process is used with production, operational systems. The process for project or development systems differs in the emphasis on analysis and documentation. In a development environment, there is more leeway to investigate a particular angle as a possible solution to a business need. Once this analysis is done, an evaluation is completed to determine the potential benefits of this solution and possible areas for implementation. Consultation with business process owners must be completed before any development is moved forward.

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