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New out-of-the-box ITIL best practices for Change Management

Level 10

We often hear from customers how time-consuming opening new change requests can be. Many change plans, especially ones revolving around similar issues – share about 80% of their content and processes in common. Without automation, teams find themselves repeating manual searches and modifications, which are tedious and prone to human error.  

To help you drive consistency, reduce error, and in some cases even change failure due to poorly planned changes – we have recently introduced the new Change Management lifecycle. The new lifecycle can help you put all this repetitive manual work in the past, while accelerating and streamlining the entire change planning and execution processes. The new features and capabilities include the Change Catalog, which is an index showing all your Change Catalog Items. The Change Catalog Items are predefined change plan templates that can be used by change requesters and implementers to save a lot of time and effort by automating repetitive work. Each template includes a change plan, test plan, and a rollout plan, as well as an automatic workflow for your teams to follow.

In this post I will focus on a couple of ITIL best practices you can implement in your organization quickly and easily just by using the out-of-the-box capabilities of the Change Management module of the SolarWinds Service Desk.


Out-of-the-Box ITIL best practices
ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) distinguishes between 3 main change types: Standard, Emergency and Normal. Standard Changes are changes that have already been authorized, are of low risk to the IT and business environments, relatively common and adhere to predefined workflows and set of approvals. Their priority may change and vary as needed.  
Emergency Changes are changes that must be implemented as soon as possible to restore normal business continuity. Normal Changes are practically all other changes.

Using these change types to classify your change requests can help you prioritize them and organize them more effectively. This way Emergency changes (colored red in the Change Catalog and Index) will be easier to notice and of course sort lists by. For example, you can sort your Change Index according to these types when running your CAB meetings - to help you lead an effective discussion around the last period’s changes as well as the upcoming ones. By identifying changes as “Standard” for example, it is easier to duplicate relevant plans/ processes that concern this type of change when creating a new template.

 

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In addition to introducing change types, we have created three out-of-the-box change templates (one per type) that are available for you at the Change Catalog:

  • “Add email server and Spam Experts” (Standard)
  • “Replace hard drive in server” (Emergency)
  • “Operating system update using SolarWinds Patch Manager (Normal)”

Let’s take the first one as an example. Running out of email server storage is something that we're all familiar with - no matter how often I refer my colleagues to the cloud, I keep getting these gigantic presentations via email. It doesn’t take long before we start getting these storage alerts...

So we’ve decided it’s time to add another email server to support our email volumes and balance the load. Where do we begin? We can start off by utilizing the template that fits our needs most, in this example – we have one that fits our needs exactly (how convenient!😉).

Each change template includes the ITIL best practice of making sure that you have your change plan, test plan and rollback plan aligned before moving forward.

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Once we have our plans well defined, we are ready to move on and define the automated process we want to set for this change. We no longer need to rely on one-on-one communication to update others or know where a certain issue stands. You can quickly go to the ‘Process’ tab to learn who has the ball at any given time.

When ready, you can start the automatic process and let Service Desk facilitate the change execution and help all of the stakeholders stay up to date and act quickly along the change lifecycle.

 

Ask the Pros
Join us on Wednesday, June 10th, 10 AM ET for a Change Management webinar focusing on these ITIL beast practices and new capabilities. Explore the different ways you and your organization can benefit from them, and how quickly you can set these all up. In the meantime, check out the enhanced Change Management module in the trial version of SolarWinds Service Desk.