Forums and social media do not Change Management make
Change Management has long been touted by ITSM vendors as one of the core pillars of service management provision. Of course, the management of change within an organisation is pivotal to preventing service issues or outages and, if you are doing things correctly, your customers and employees will not face interruption to their daily requirements. In fact, they should not be aware of the change at all.
In simple terms, we define Change Management as “the controlled identification and implementation of required changes in system or process”.
As consumers of modern services, many of which are supplied via the internet in the booming digital economy, we occasionally come across poor or woeful Change Management. The first thing that you will probably notice is that you have noticed something, perhaps a website outage, your email not syncing, forms not being processed during an online purchase or simply losing the ability to access online banking. These issues are often attributed to poor Change Management. A step in the change process has likely been missed and the result is the problem you encounter.
Many organisations feel that they are on top of their Change Management. As an agency, one area we are particularly interested in is hosting. With many clients opting for shared or virtual server environments, there is a higher likelihood of change to the server configuration and to the software implemented on it, and it is more likely that there will be migrations or upgrades to the hardware. This can have a dramatic impact on the website you are managing and may well result in outage. Of course, most hosts have a robust change-management process in place that is triggered in advance of, during and after the process of any given change. The key here is how the steps in the process are communicated with the people that are affected. Due to the nature of development, if the process is not communicated, then a key component to successful change is missed and the chain breaks down.
We have, even recently, come across hosts who are using internet forums and their Twitter account to communicate upcoming server migrations to their host clients. This puts the reliance on the developer to follow and review these channels daily. In the digital age, this is not an effective method of communicating such important steps in a change-management process and will inevitably lead to a high level of process failure.
All organisations must be able to plan an effective change strategy that is tracked, particularly at key stages in the chain, so that the finished implementation or change in process can be reviewed, learnt from and can help to improve future projects.
A good ITSM solution will enable your organisation to take care of your Change Management in a robust way, allowing you to track essential processes. Selecting a tool on these merits alone is not enough, though. Think about how your customers, whether internal or external, will be informed of the change and be impacted by it. This is a vital component in your selection and one that will ensure that the chain remains strong throughout.