ITIL’s official definition of change is “The addition, modification or removal of an authorized, planned or supported service or service component and its associated documentation". So why do we want to manage change? There are several reasons:
1. Consistency – We need to make sure changes that occur frequently are made in a consistent manner.
2. Minimize risk – The great majority of IT service outages are caused by change – whether it’s a bad patch, human error or hardware failure.
3. Make sure the change is successful – Some changes are complex enough that there should be substantial thought that goes into planning the change. For example, if you need to deploy a new service pack to all workstations – this isn’t something that can just be deployed without proper planning.
Changes can be anything from simple password changes to something more complex like a service pack deployment or a full-blown project that affects large areas of your services – such as network infrastructure upgrades. In order to manage these changes, you need to have a tool in place to make sure changes are properly reviewed and approved.
Two main types of tools exist to help manage change – tools that help you manage change requests and the process around changes and tools that help monitor change. Typically, tools that help manage the change process are integrated with other service functions such as problem and incident management.