ITIL Change Management

Uncoordinated changes to the IT service landscape are a frequent cause of cost-intensive disruptions. Considering that business processes today are heavily dependent on IT, these disruptions can lead to considerable costs.

ITIL Change Management is crucial for minimizing the risks resulting from technological changes. Every change is thoroughly checked before implementation in order to reduce potential negative effects.

Introduction to ITIL Change Management

ITIL Change Management is an IT Service Management (ITSM) methodology that helps organizations effectively manage changes to IT services, processes and systems and improve service quality for users and supporters.

The process is intended to ensure that standardized methods and procedures (hence ITIL Change Management) for implementing changes are established and effectively implemented. In this way, the process prevents unnecessary disruptions and acts as assistance in the case of failures. The goal here is to reduce external and internal risks triggered by change.

The implementation of change management according to ITIL subsequently increases the effectiveness and profitability of your own company.

What is ITIL Change Management?

There are several perspectives on change management. From a business perspective, from a risk perspective, in terms of dependencies, and from a competitiveness perspective.

Change management according to ITIL is a crucial process that focuses on planning, monitoring and implementing changes to IT services, processes and systems. The goal is always to reduce the risk of errors and disruptions to a minimum and thus ensure the quality and stability of IT services.

ITIL Change Management

What is a Change?

Basically, “change” means a change for an organization, which is also associated with risk. According to ITIL, the term Change refers to any change that is made to

  • IT services, systems, processes or
  • other components in the infrastructure area.

These may be changes to hardware, software or the IT infrastructure in general. ITIL V4 classifies 3 groups of changes:

1. Standard Changes

Standard changes are changes that are associated with low risk and follow a defined process. These changes are authorized by default and can be easily automated due to their standardized processes. Authorized here means that a well-defined set of changes (captured as standard) can be completed via a simple authorization process. For Standard Changes, one or two approval levels are sufficient for this.

2. Emergency Changes

Emergency changes refer to changes that occur unexpectedly and must be implemented immediately in order to prevent or at least minimize the effects of an emergency situation. This includes, for example, actions during a large-scale DDoS attack.

3. Normal Changes

Normal changes are changes that are neither standard nor emergency changes and therefore form their own category. Depending on the type of related risk, these changes may be considered …

  • marginally
  • significant or
  • serious

. This can be, for example,

  • reconfiguration of the network topology,
  • a software update,
  • an upgrade of hardware components,
  • the installation of a new server or
  • the implementation of a new IT service desk tool.

The ITIL definition of change is therefore broad and encompasses all changes to IT services, systems or processes that are critical for the company. In addition, modifications in organizational procedures or processes can also be referred to as change. This means that changes are not only change processes, but also adjustments to software or approaches in a company.

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The goals: Why is Change Management important?

Change management is important because it helps to minimize the risk of errors and disruptions in IT services and thus ensure the quality of services. Without change management processes, unforeseeable effects on the IT environment can occur and have a negative impact on users, supporters and employees.

Here is an example: When a company decides to introduce a new version of its software, it issues instructions to install the update. However, the IT department ignores the change management process and installs the software directly on production systems without checking or approving the process.

After the installation, serious compatibility issues occur as a consequence, causing system failures and blocking access to business-critical applications. The downtime creates conflicts with users unable to perform their work and the support department tasked with restoring services.

Ultimately, the company has to use additional resources to rectify the problem, which leads to considerable costs and business interruptions. If the company had implemented change management processes and carefully planned and evaluated the change, the negative impact of the change on the IT environment and business operations would have been avoided – which is exactly why change management is so important.

Differences between Change Management and other ITSM processes

Change Management, Incident Management, Release Management, Capacity Management, and Problem Management are all directly related, but do not mean the same thing. It is therefore important to consider each area individually:

  • The main task of incident management is to resolve incidents at short notice.
  • Problem management looks for permanent solutions and analyzes the problems behind incidents.
  • Change management deals with the implementation of changes that may arise as a result of identified problems.
  • Capacity management, on the other hand, must assess the impact of changes on existing capacities and identify additional capacities required. Additional capacity requirements must be included in the capacity plan and as such must also be treated as Requests for a Change (RfCs).
  • Release management is the process responsible for planning the timing and controlling the transition of releases to test and live environments.

What are the benefits of ITIL Change Management?

Basically, the benefits of good change management can be broken down into the following five:

  • Avoiding risks or negative effects on operations
  • Saving resources for problem and risk management
  • Optimization of internal processes (process optimization)
  • Long-term avoidance of problems in the technical infrastructure
  • Reducing the complexity of process dependencies

Better Control

ITIL Change Management offers a high degree of control over changes to IT systems and processes. This ensures that changes are carefully planned, documented, and tested to minimize or eliminate the risk for disruptions and failures.

Improved Efficiency

Effective ITIL Change Management ensures that changes to IT systems and processes can be implemented quickly and efficiently. This increases the efficiency of the IT department and ultimately reduces costs.

Less downtime

ITIL Change Management minimizes downtimes of IT services and systems. This helps you avoid costly unreliability in IT systems and processes.

Better IT Service Quality

ITIL Change Management enables you to continuously monitor and optimize your IT services. Improving the quality of IT services increases the satisfaction of users and supporters.

Minimization of Compliance Risks

ITIL Change Management ensures that companies implement their IT services and processes in accordance with regulatory requirements (CLAs). In this way, compliance risks can be minimized.

Consistent Quality

ITIL Change Management helps you to implement changes to IT services and processes in a consistent and controlled framework. This ensures that the company continues to deliver consistent quality in its IT services and processes.

Higher Flexibility

Effective implementation of ITIL Change Management enables companies to respond more quickly and flexibly to business requirements. Effective planning and implementation of changes makes it possible to deploy new technologies faster or make adjustments to IT services in order to remain competitive in rapidly changing business environments.

Higher IT Security

Change management ensures that changes to IT services and processes meet the highest security standards.

Comprehensive Documentation via Reporting

ITIL Change Management requires careful documentation of changes to IT services and processes. This results in transparent reporting that enables companies to better track and understand changes in IT services and processes and avoid them in the future.

Better Collaboration

ITIL Change Management promotes better collaboration within and outside the IT department. This provides the basis for successfully managing change in the future. The acceptance of change is important here. The successful change process ensures that the employees involved are brought together, that there is a consistent (rather than confusing) level of information, and that there is clarity in the process.

Holistic overview

ITIL Change Management ensures that IT services and processes are viewed in a broader context. With this holistic overview, companies can quickly discover which changes are necessary to achieve long-term business goals.

A Cost-Benefit Analysis

Simply stating the benefits is helpful, but in the end it always comes down to whether an investment pays off for a company. This is where the cost-benefit analysis comes into play: the aim of a cost-benefit analysis for change management is to demonstrate the relationship between the costs of administration or implementation and the benefits that result from the approach:

  • ROI factors on the employee side: faster adoption, higher subsequent usage, and higher competency.
  • Cost prevention: Inefficient change management is expensive for the project and the organization.
  • Risk reduction: People, the project, and the organization are all at risk when change is not managed well.
  • Higher chance of achieving goals: Data shows that projects with effective change management are more likely to meet goals, stay on schedule, and stay within budget.

Once you understand the benefits and advantages of change management, you need to know what roles, processes and information are relevant.

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ITIL Change Management Process: Information, Steps and Roles

In order to understand change processes, you need to know how they are put together and which components are important. For this, we need to clarify two terms in the first step, namely Configuration Item (CI) and Configuration Management Database (CMDB).

In order to assess the risk of changes, you need detailed information about the individual configuration items (CI) and their relations to each other. A CI is a part of the entirety of operating resources in a company and can include PCs, peripheral devices, telephones, all network components, servers, installation documentation, process instructions, IT services and also software – in other words, all components that can trigger a change due to a malfunction.

Configuration Management captures and manages these components in a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). This means that changes can be controlled and, if possible, even automated, as all important components and their relationship to each other are collected and configured in a database.

Typically, change management covers the entire process from the initialization of the change (the so-called change request) to the review of the change after implementation. The focus is always on ensuring that all changes to the IT infrastructure are subject to a controlled assessment, approval, implementation and review process.

This requires going through several steps in the change management process.

What steps are included in the Change Management Process?

An ITIL Change Management process is typically a structured sequence of steps designed to manage changes to IT services, systems and processes.

The steps may vary depending on the company and IT environment. However, the goal is always to implement changes in an effective and controlled manner to minimize the risk of errors and disruptions and to ensure that the quality and efficiency of IT services are maintained or even improved.

Planning Changes with sufficient lead time is critical. This is precisely recorded in the Forward Schedule of Changes (FSC): a schedule that contains details of the approved changes and their planned implementation date. This increases the accuracy of the change assessment and thus minimizes undesirable side effects and unprepared risks such as downtimes or a reduction in service quality.

Here are some of the steps typically included in an ITIL Change Management process:

1. Request Submission

Anyone who needs a change to any component of the IT system submits a request. However, changes can also be created automatically or generated automatically from problem management via workflow. In addition, a change can often be created not only for IT systems, but for the entire technical infrastructure.

2. Request for a Change (RfC)

The life cycle of a Change begins with the formal registration of the application. The RfC is the actual logbook, i.e. the collection of all activities regarding a Change (discussions, descriptions, analyses, documentation and decisions).

Summarizing linked RfCs not only helps to assess impacts more realistically, but also reduces the bureaucratic burden of change management.

3. Analysis and Assessment

The change management process reviews the request to determine if the motivation for the change is reasonable and if the necessary documents are in place. After the analysis, the impact of the change on the IT system is evaluated to ensure that there is no negative impact.

4. Approval

If the application is approved, a plan to implement the change will first be developed before the change is put into production. In the case of a rejection, on the other hand, the exact reasons are collected and stored.

5. Implementation

The Change Management process helps to ensure that changes are implemented properly, this is done in coordination with other ITSM processes such as Release Management or Incident Management.

6. Monitoring

Once the changes are complete, the environment is monitored to ensure that everything is working as expected.

7. Evaluation and Reporting

Once the changes have been fully implemented and tested, the change management process concludes the change has been implemented and successfully completes the change.

Tasks and Responsibilities in Change Management

There are also different roles and responsibilities in change management. Each role has specific responsibilities and functions. To ensure that changes are carefully planned, documented and tested, and that the risk of disruptions and failures remains minimal, all roles must work together intelligently. To do this, companies use a change advisory board.

Now about the specific roles:

This person is responsible for defining the strategic goals of the process and providing all necessary resources.

This manager is responsible for the effectiveness and efficiency of the entire process. The Change Manager assesses Requests for Change (RfC), along with the Change Advisory Board (CAB). This committee consists of experienced personnel from the disciplines involved.

This is the team tasked with the change management process.

This is the body that makes decisions in case of an emergency change. It is determined by senior management.

In addition, there is also the role of the change owner, the change advisory board, the change authority, the change requester (CR), the change tester, the change implementer and the change developer (builder).

Change-Advisory-Board (CAB)

This is not a role, but rather a combination of important roles in change management. Some understand the term “board” to mean very formal regular meetings of the same group of top managers.

The CAB supports the change manager in assessing and prioritizing changes in terms of business impact. When a CAB is convened, the members selected must be capable of evaluating the Change from both a business and technical standpoint.

Software for successful Change Management

The majority of all companies today are heavily dependent on IT systems and IT technology. It is therefore essential that sufficient time is invested in good change management within the company. This is because the assessment of risks and dependencies as well as the business criticality of changes and decisions is a holistic task.

Change management has now become a full-time task: In this way, the process of changes should be effectively controlled and optimized in order to minimize risks and possible disruptions. The key factor here is choosing the right software.

As technologies evolve, markets change and companies grow, so must the IT infrastructure. This is precisely the point at which change management should come into play, ideally hand in hand with a suitable software solution.

Change Management Software

What is Change Management Software?

A change management software is an IT tool that helps within IT service management to…

  • automate,
  • document,
  • manage and
  • to control.

The software mostly offers functions for managing the entire change management process, including the management of requests for changes, the documentation up to the release of changes, the execution of tests and reviews and the creation of reports and analyses.

How can software improve Change Management?

Change management software automates and simplifies the process of change and minimizes the risks and impact of unforeseen problems. It also helps monitor compliance with ITIL standard processes, improves efficiency and helps control costs and schedules by keeping all parties involved on the same level of knowledge and facilitating collaboration.

What are the features and functions of a good Change Management Software?

In order to implement a successful change in IT service management, a thorough analysis of the current status and a definition of the desired future status is required. You can prevent problems by scheduling a testing period before implementing the changes.

A service management tool can help unify ITSM processes and improve process control. Among other things, the tool should enable:

  • a forward schedule of change (FSC),
  • a cross-organizational calendar planning,
  • a comprehensive resource management,
  • a governance of change management roles and responsibilities,
  • an integration into the CMDB (to enrich the Change with relevant information) and
  • a configurability of the change processes and necessary approvals

The software The software should also provide transparency about dependencies and possible effects in the IT infrastructure as well as about all change and release management activities (from the initial request to the post-implementation review). All change and release management activities should be comprehensively processed and documented in a change management software.

Emergency Change Advisory Board (ECAB) risk assessment should also be improved through comprehensive and transparent risk management. IT management software that meets these requirements helps to simplify the ITIL change management workflow and improve the effectiveness of change management processes.

How to choose a suitable software for change management?

The selection process of a suitable software for change management should consider the following steps:

1. Define Requirements

Create a list of minimum requirements and functionalities that the tool must meet. These include integration with other IT service management tools, customization capabilities, configurability, ease of use, reporting capabilities, and support for ITIL Framework processes.

2. Budgeting

Set a budget for the software, taking into account all costs, including licensing costs, implementation costs, training costs, and maintenance fees.

3. Research

Conduct extensive research and create a list of tools that meet your needs.

4. Request Demos

Request demos and trial deliveries to get a better idea of the software’s features and customization options.

5. Reference Check

Talk to other customers of the vendor to get feedback on their experience with the software.

6. Decision Making

Evaluate the results of your research and demos, price, and feedback from other customers to make an informed decision.

It is also important that the tool fits the company’s individual needs and that solid documentation, training and support are provided. It should also be flexible and scalable so that it can meet the company’s changing requirements in the future.


REALTECH’s change management tool offers companies a wide range of benefits for effectively managing changes in their IT infrastructure. An important advantage is the automation of change processes, which reduces errors and manual intervention.

With SAP-ITSM integration, you can manage SAP changes directly in your ITSM tool. In this way, you reduce media discontinuities and establish seamless end-to-end change processes between SAP and ITSM.

Success with ITIL Change Management

Change management is not just a process that focuses on the IT infrastructure – it affects the entire organization. Through clear goals, ITSM tools, and employee engagement, organizations can ensure they effectively and successfully implement change to respond to an ever-changing business environment.

ITIL Change Management is an essential component in optimizing processes and increasing the long-term success of organizations. Therefore, work with an experienced partner like REALTECH when implementing incident, problem, and change management. Our SmartITSM solution combines all the advantages. Feel free to make a free appointment or request our free demo.

FAQs: Change Management

According to ITIL, the term Change refers to any change made to IT services, systems, processes or other components in the infrastructure area. These may be changes to hardware, software or the IT infrastructure in general.

The goal of change management is to ensure that changes to the IT infrastructure or to a process are implemented in a controlled and coordinated manner. This should minimize downtime, reduce risks and issues, and ensure that affected stakeholders are closely involved throughout the process.

ITSM software plays an important role in the change management process. It enables automated change management, process monitoring, reporting and analysis, and integration with other ITSM tools. As a result, companies can optimize their change management processes and minimize risks.

A structured approach to change management offers several advantages. These include reduced downtime and risk, faster rollout of changes, higher quality of IT services, and improved efficiency and transparency in the ITSM process. Through an improved change management strategy, companies can become more competitive and achieve long-term success.

ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is a framework for IT service management that helps companies to make their IT services more efficient and effective. It defines processes, procedures and functions for IT Service Management(ITSM) and provides a collection of best practices to help organizations plan, monitor and review their IT services.

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