ITIL Change Management

A frequent cause of cost-intensive IT service disruptions is uncoordinated or inadequately managed changes to the IT service landscape. Given that business processes today are heavily dependent on IT, these disruptions can lead to significant costs and competitive disadvantages. It is therefore recommended to introduce basic processes such as ITIL Change Management or to invest here.

Change management implemented according to ITIL provides the basis for minimizing risk in all necessary changes in technology by carefully reviewing each change before it is implemented. This minimizes potential negative impacts.

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 designed to ensure that standardized methods and procedures (ITIL Change Management) for implementing change 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?

Change management can be considered from several perspectives. 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 fraught 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.

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 low-risk changes that 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 to prevent or at least minimize the impact of an emergency situation. This includes, for example, actions during a large-scale DDoS attack.

3. Normal Changes

Normal changes are changes that are not included in the standard or emergency changes and thus 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 processes of change, but also adaptations of software or approaches in a company.

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, thus ensuring the quality of the services. Without change management processes, there can be unpredictable effects on the IT environment that negatively affect users, supporters and employees.

Here’s an example:

When a company decides to introduce a new version of its software, it gives instructions to install the update. However, the IT department ignores the change management process and installs the software directly on production systems without reviewing 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 must deploy additional resources to fix the problem, resulting in significant costs and business disruption. 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 necessary to consider each area individually:

  • Incident Management has the main task of resolving incidents in the short term.
  • Problem Management looks for permanent solutions and analyzes the problems behind incidents.
  • Change Management takes care of the implementation of changes that may result from 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 managing 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 to 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
  • Reduction of complexity in process dependencies

Better Control

ITIL Change Management provides a high level 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.

Higher Availability

By minimizing risks in IT systems and processes, ITIL Change Management contributes to higher availability of IT services. This helps companies to increase supporter, user, and customer satisfaction and, as a result, the company’s success.

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 downtime 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 user and supporter satisfaction.

Minimization of Compliance Risks

ITIL Change Management ensures that organizations run their IT services and processes in compliance 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 change planning and implementation makes it possible to deploy new technologies faster or make adjustments to IT services 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, understand and avoid changes in IT services and processes 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 view, companies can quickly discover what changes are needed to achieve long-term business goals.

A Cost-Benefit Analysis

Simply mentioning benefits is helpful, but in the end it always comes down to whether an investment will pay off for a company. This is where cost-benefit analysis becomes important: The goal of a cost-benefit analysis for change management is to demonstrate the relation between the costs of management 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.

ITIL Change Management Process: Information, Steps and Roles

To understand change processes, you need to know how they are formed and which components are important in the process. 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, detailed information about the individual configuration items (CI) and their relationships to each other is required. A CI is a part of the entirety of operating resources in a company and can include PCs, peripherals, telephones, all network components, servers, installation documentation, procedural instructions, IT services and also software – in other words, all components that can cause a change through a malfunction.

Configuration Management captures and manages these components in a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). In this way, changes can be controlled and, if possible, even automated, sinceall 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 it has been implemented. 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 accurately captured in the Forward Schedule of Changes (FSC): a schedule that provides details of the approved Changes and their intended implementation date. This increases the accuracy of change assessment, minimizing unwanted side effects and unprepared risks such as downtime or reduction in service quality.

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

Change Management Process

1. Request Submission

Anyone who needs a change to any component of the IT system submits a request. But Changes can also be created automatically or generated automatically from Problem Management using workflows. 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.

This person is responsible for a specific activity or task within the lifecycle of a request.

In addition, there are the roles of Change Owner, Change Advisory Board, Change Authority, Change Requester (CR), Change Tester, Change Implementer, and Change Builder.

Change-Advisory-Board (CAB)

This is not a role, rather it combines 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 is to be effectively controlled and optimized in order to minimize risks and possible disruptions. The decisive advantage here is the choice of the appropriate 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.

What is Change Management Software?

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

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

The software mostly provides functionality to manage the entire change management process, including managing requests for changes, documenting to release changes, performing tests and reviews, and generating reports and analysis.

Change Management Software

How can software improve Change Management?

Eine Change Management Software automatisiert und vereinfacht den Prozess der Veränderung und minimiert Risiken und Auswirkungen von unvorhergesehenen Problemen. It also helps monitor compliance with standard ITIL 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?

To implement a successful change in IT service management, a thorough analysis of the current state and a definition of the desired future state 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 should also provide visibility into dependencies and potential impacts in the IT infrastructure, as well as all change and release management activities (from initial request to post-implementation review). All change and release management activities should be processed and documented across the board in 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.

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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 individual needs of the company, solid documentation and training, and support are provided. It should also be flexible and scalable to meet future, changing business needs as well.


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 can reduce errors and manual intervention. This means that the tool automates and thus optimizes the entire process from request to implementation.

Our software is SAP compatible. The Change Management for SAP module lets you manage your 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.

Change Management for SAP

Success with ITIL Change Management

Change management is not just a process focused 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 part of 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.