Like them or loathe them, all employees will need, at some point, to interact with the support services offered by the IT department. In this series of short articles, we uncover some of the secret workings of the IT department, finding out what is jargon and what is just common sense that can apply to all of us, regardless of our role, work, or profession.
Calm, not chaos
If our previous article on incident management was your introduction to the emergency services of the IT world, then think of change management as the town planner. It’s not just about responding to emergencies but laying out the whole town or city in a way that minimises accidents and traffic jams in the first place.
What is a change management?
Change management is the coordinated approach to transitioning from one state to another, especially when introducing new services, technologies, or processes. Unlike incident management, which is reactive, change management is proactive – it aims to prevent issues before they happen.
Why change management matters
A well-managed change process minimises the risk of service disruptions and improves the system’s overall effectiveness. This means fewer incidents to manage for organisations, better productivity, and happier clients.
The change management life cycle
Similar to incident management, change management also follows a life cycle:
- Request for change – identifying the need for a change
- Assessment and planning – evaluating the impact and preparing the roadmap
- Implementation – rolling out the change
- Review – evaluating the success and any lessons learned.
Example: Introducing a new office layout
Imagine your organisation has just expanded its team, leading to a need for additional workspaces. You can’t just move desks and computers without a plan – that’s where change management comes in. It ensures that everyone has access to what they need and that the transition is as smooth as possible.
Example: Upgrading the point-of-sale system at a shop
Let’s say you run a retail shop, and you’ve decided to upgrade your point-of-sale system. If not done correctly, this could result in chaos – unhappy customers and a drop in sales. A well-managed change process would ensure that all employees are trained on the new system and that backups are in place, minimising disruptions.
The benefits of doing this well
Implementing a robust change management strategy offers several advantages:
- Business resilience – effective change management allows your organisation to adapt quickly to market shifts, new regulations, or emerging technologies.
- Reduced downtime – a well-executed change reduces the risk of service disruption, thereby maintaining business continuity.
- Optimised resources – efficient change management processes mean fewer resources are wasted, leading to more cost-effective operations.
- Enhanced stakeholder trust – when changes are managed well, it instils confidence in both employees and customers, reinforcing their trust in the organisation’s competence.
- Data-informed decision-making – the structured approach of change management ensures that decisions are backed by comprehensive assessments, making each change a calculated, strategic move.
Effective change management isn’t just about averting disaster; it’s about positioning the organisation for greater success through well-executed modifications and improvements.
Now that you have a grip on change management, we’d love to know how you’ve experienced change in your work environment. Was it seamless, or did it lead to a cascade of incidents? Share your stories and insights.
This is the second article in our series aimed at demystifying the IT department’s inner workings. Check back for more.