Change management initiatives for software providers or other similar businesses include a certain level of innate complexity. It's up to developers, operations teams and change advisers to plant and grow change processes in an environment devoid of complications so as not to compound the problem.
While it might be easier for small businesses to incorporate an organized system for change management than their larger competitors, SMBs assume great risk in the process. However, if onboarded cleanly, ITIL-compatible change management platforms like ChangeGear help owners of small businesses navigate integration with grace and continue building off their wins from there on out.
Encourage the Best CAB Collaboration
Every change management process needs a change advisory board - a group of people charged with overseeing, approving and prioritizing proposed changes as they occur. CABs don't need to be large, but what they lack in size they ought to make up for in responsiveness, knowledge and agility.
That said, small business owners and employees already infamously pull double, triple or octuple duty. Lacking the resources to hire professionals for every department with which their big business counterparts operate, small businesses may employ automated software or contractors to fill the gap. But in an effort to simplify, these choices could easily invite confusion - even the newest technology requires a some degree of manual guidance and freelancing decentralizes important enterprise features. How would bringing in change management suites offer a small business CAB respite from convolution?
Advanced change management suites provide each CAB member access to highly configurable dashboards, visibility into multi-modal workflows and the ability to automate without added code. Small business CABs, therefore, stay connected, monitor requests at a glance, review historic changes and freely reposition their management strategies according to the latest company needs, all resulting in faster releases and fewer hang-ups.
Juggle the Different Types of Change
Changes come in three different flavors, and small businesses must have a palette for each if they hope to traverse complexity and succeed. According to Continuous Delivery, the change trifecta is as follows:
- Standard changes: Low-level changes, oftentimes approved as a group in advance to prevent long cycle times
- Normal changes: Everyday changes varying in risk from low to high
- Emergency changes: Time-sensitive changes, usually high-risk
As we've already mentioned, when standard changes come down the pipe, small business CABs can't be bothered with approving each independently, which is why they're approved in clusters beforehand. Normal changes are the bread and butter of change management - change processes must have the agility to create effective changes and integrate them quickly into existing configurations without hiccups.
As far as emergency changes go, small businesses might not have the strength of marketability to endure the sorts of troubles deserving of emergency changes, like customer data leakage or cyberattacks. Better to avoid them outright than worry about response times. However, it's important to remember that configuration hazards aren't always external. In fact, according to TechTarget contributor Andy Hogg, between 70 to 80 percent of all service interruptions across all providers occur because of lackluster configuration changes made internally.
Leverage the Power of a CMDB
Change management platforms with automated release management options and regression testing keep day-to-day operations churning at a steady clip while forgoing the threat of human error from processes inundated with manual steps. Moreover, access to a versatile CMDB off which IT professional can bounce proposed changes ensures risk-free releases and user satisfaction.
With small businesses possibly not having the available resources to have a full IT staff, the ability to have a single database of all configuration values is invaluable and saves both man-time and labor hours with it's fluid, ITIL based organization capabilities.
Putting a CMDB into place creates transparency, allowing IT leaders to quickly and accurately pin down what change needs to be made and the affect that adjustment will have on the rest of the configuration. With the ability to not only easily track IT Assets but the associated configuration settings and optimal performance values as well, a CMDB helps to provide a base level of stability that all organizations need. With the ability to also act as a sort of additional level of security, a CMDB can act as an excellent resource for emergency restoration efforts if any change, planned or otherwise, causes an environment to go off the rails.