ITIL 4 and Change Management

Published: November 23, 2020
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ITIL has long been a big name in change management. ITIL V3’s change management approach proved highly successful, and as the two have become more prominent – ITIL with the release of ITIL 4 and change management as a practice – the relationship between them has attracted more attention. Change managers have wondered exactly what ITIL 4 change management has to offer, as well as how it relates to IT service management.

While change management is not about following a strict set of rules, utilizing a framework still offers significant benefits. It simply ensures that a business has a clear process in place, complete with all the necessary tools, clarity, communication, and so on. 

At the same time, change management evolves in line with business and technology, requiring change managers to continually improve their practices in order to optimize the benefits of transformation initiatives.

This is one of the most essential elements of ITIL: continuously improving service management practices to make sure new and existing services are generating as much value as possible. Change management is no exception, and there have been quite a few updates since ITIL V3.

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How does ITIL 4 change management work?

Within ITIL 4, change management is referred to as ‘Change Enablement’. It is one of 34 service management practices that users can prioritize to varying degrees depending on their own company’s requirements.

While this may look like a less prominent position than change enjoyed in ITIL v3, it does not mean the frameworks’ approach has gotten vague. ITIL 4 Change Enablement describes demonstrably effective inputs, outputs, roles, and key activities businesses can use to establish bespoke change management processes.

Whether change is directed towards management practices, daily tasks, or anything else, Change Enablement is designed to optimize its value while minimizing any disruption or opposition it might cause. It also distinguishes different types of change, such as Standard, Emergency, and Normal, and even breaks them down in other ways.

If you are not familiar with ITIL 4 as a framework, it is important to remember that it focuses on the entire lifecycle of IT services. Whether they are internal or customer-facing, and from conception past the point of deployment, ITIL 4 supports the optimization of services that create or support value. Because of this, its Change Enablement process was designed to be applicable across the spectrum of IT as well as any business elements connected to it.

What are the benefits of ITIL change management?

ITIL 4 defines change as something that can have any kind of impact on IT services. Considering IT’s essentialness to most modern business elements, the potential ingredients and environment for a change initiative can be quite diverse. At the same time, this constant connection also means that the benefits of ITIL 4 Change Enablement can be seen not only in IT, but also in tangential areas of a business.

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Following the framework’s Change Enablement process offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Optimized transparency of change management initiatives, including who is involved at each stage and how they will be affected, as well as well-defined performance metrics
  • Increased alignment between business and IT, ensuring that all changes proceed with strategic aims in mind
  • Greater support from different departments, stakeholders, and so on
  • Improved enterprise agility, allowing organizations to utilize opportunities more easily
  • Effective risk management to minimize service downtime and other disruptions
  • Maximize the benefits of change

As a whole, ITIL 4 wants to improve and streamline all processes related to IT services and the business elements they support. Change management is one such process and receives a great deal of attention from both the ITIL development team and the practitioner community. Studying ITIL 4 Change Enablement helps students learn to create change models and frameworks that can be continuously reused and improved. 

So, what do you need to know about ITIL 4 Change Management? When it comes to IT-powered organizations, it has the potential to become a single yet integral element of a holistically optimized IT service management scheme.

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