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CAB 101: What a CAB is and Why You Need One

01/23/2014 by: The SunView Team

Establishing a Change Advisory Board can enable organizations to establish the oversight and cross-departmental communication necessary to manage change effectively. Organizations attempting to develop effective service management strategies need to be able to handle change on a large scale, and a CAB positions businesses to handle change as effectively as possible.

What is a CAB?
A CAB is a board of individuals given some authority over change. This group will often include change managers, operations group managers and even business leaders. The important thing to keep in mind is that a CAB needs to represent the various departments that will be involved in any changes performed within the service management sphere. If an IT service desk is being used for line-of-business functions, a leader from that department may need to have some authority in the change management scheme.

The purpose of this board is to oversee changes and provide authorization as necessary. Generally speaking, a change management setup will be designed with different levels of required authorizations for various types of changes. Some basic change processes may not require any authorization outside the individual performing the change. Changes at the next level of complexity, however, may require an individual to request authorization from a manager before moving forward. A CAB coordinates this authorization process and oversees change operations that must cross multiple departmental boundaries.

At the same time, a CAB is also designed to provide long-term guidance over change processes. In many cases, a CAB will meet periodically to look closely at what changes have been completed over a period and what projects have run into roadblocks. As such, an effective CAB can keep efforts from stalling and ensure consistency within the change management setup.

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Why do You Need a CAB?
IT departments face numerous challenges managing projects that extend across multiple technical departments that require authorizations from leaders in development, operations and IT management as a whole. Handling this process effectively can be difficult, especially as processes must pass through a variety of channels to reach diverse stakeholders in a project. As such, inefficient authorization procedures can hold back change management tasks and limit a company's ability to handle IT operations effectively. A CAB is critical in overcoming this problem.

Businesses are becoming more dependent on technology all of the time, creating a situation in which advanced IT systems are increasingly important in areas like human resources and accounting, not just development and operations. Some companies are even beginning to integrate IT service desk capabilities into facility scheduling and management operations. As such, IT is no longer the sole body controlling technology assets within an organization.

Developing a CAB gives organizations the governance and oversight they need to keep up with the more complex and demanding technological climate facing contemporary businesses. IT is no longer the only key stakeholder in managing and working with technology systems, and a CAB establishes the cross-department guidance needed to mitigate risk and maximize efficiency.