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Formalized Change Management – Is It Needed? BY JOSH HENDRICKSON, SYSTEMS ENGINEER

As IT infrastructure grows, so does the need for more and more administrative staff to manage that infrastructure. Along with the increased number of staff members and servers also comes an ever increasing level of system interoperation and complexity. It is as these high levels of growth and complexity that an organization must start to consider a more formalized change management process and procedure.
First though, let’s back up and talk about what a formal change management process consists of. A formal change management process generally requires a change management governing body, a change execution entity/member, and the infrastructure itself.
A governing body can be as simple as the next few organizational levels over the infrastructure administrators (generally a department manager and the director or VP of IT). It can also be a complex organizational entity (also known as a steering committee) that includes many different internal departments to a larger IT department. Basically, the goal of this governing body is to oversee any change requests, ensure clear direction of any infrastructure changes, as well as ensure there will be little to no unforeseen impact on end user production systems. The change execution entity can consist of one IT administrator or a group of IT members working to collectively execute the change as approved by the governing body.
If executed properly a formal change management process can greatly reduce the risk of service outages, data lose, or critical revenue loss incurred by production systems that require adherence to strict service level agreements (SLAs). Failure to comply with change management process and procedure generally comes with professional consequences. In some cases, non-complying IT staff members could be formally reprimanded or even worse result in termination of employment.
Some organizations only implement change management on production environments, while others require change management on development, QA, and production environments. Any level of formalize change management ensures that there is a written record of infrastructure changes, the intended impact (if any) of the change, and the entity that requested and/or conducted the execution of the change.
Whether it is an external compliance regulation, such as HIPPA or Sarbanes Oxley, or an internal company practice and procedure, the benefits of implementing a formal change management process can prove extremely valuable to an organization. So, as a company executive or valued member of an organization’s IT staff, it may be time to stand up a formal change management control system to mitigate company risks related to Information Technology.
About the author
Josh Hendrickson is a detail oriented IT Professional that focuses on core infrastructure systems. He was born and raised in Indiana and migrated to California back in 2003. He has worked in an array of industries such as healthcare, marketing and IT services.
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