I was reading an article last week where the author poses a very important question about the definition of a change in today's dynamic IT environment, "What constitutes a change in today's IT environments?". As organizations deal with increasing demands on IT, explosive growth of server virtualization, and shift to use more dynamic cloud services, it's difficult for old change management processes to keep pace with the frequency of change required to support the environment. Automation of change management processes becomes even more important for IT to keep pace.
Today's information technology environment has dramatically accelerated the pace of change, but you must not forgo the discipline of change management because your antiquated change processes can't keep pace. The author of the article recommended that administrators have "reserved administration function", authorizing them to make certain changes without approval of the CAB.
This is a slippery slope - letting administrators make changes without vetting the business risk and without keeping records on what changes can lead to down time. I would argue that with a modern platform for managing change you can implement a "standard" change type that enables IT administrators to execute on certain pre-defined maintenance items and at the same time make sure there is an effective notification to the appropriate staff and a full audit of the change for historical audit reporting. Change Management software is not just about approvals - it's about capturing the appropriate documentation, communicating the information to others who need to be aware in the organization, and performing the appropriate amount of risk assessment based on the type of change.
The new world of IT management magnifies the importance of having a change management solution that supports easy creation of a request for change (RFC) at the point of change, dynamic approval and documentation of changes based on the RFC, and ensures that the right individuals in the organization receive the appropriate notifications. Change management should be integrated into every IT administrative function, allowing administrators to quickly record change requests and letting the defined process (ITIL, MOF, etc.) dictate approvals, notifications, and documentation. Automation of IT change management processes addresses both the need for quick standard changes and the need for more sophisticated risk analysis and release management required to protect the business from downtime.
Manual change management methods will not work for today's dynamic environments and it's not prudent to allow changes without following a process. So every organization that is serious about maintaining security, compliance, and reliability of the IT infrastructure should automate the change management process with tools like ChangeGear® before the demand for IT change overwhelms the current processes.