The difference between a change and a change...

I understand if this sounds a bit like philosophy and not ITIL or even like a poor sentence, but I think you'll see the point if you read the entire post.

The Change Management process is one of the fundamental pieces of Service Management and of ITIL. What I want to point out is how this process is often managed with an operational view and how that can conflict with the whole customer-oriented view of ITIL. An RFC for instance is often initiated by a customer wanting to change for example a service on a high level. This kind of change requires a project which further down the process line makes a change to the CIs in the production environment. What I want to point out here as a risk in this chain of thinking is that the change is different both in character and in content on the tactical or strategic business level compared to the operational level.

The businesses perspective on the change in this example is much more complex and must be secured at the appropriate level (see picture with Change in the classical three layer pyramid). If the parties involved in this change have not agreed on and realized that this "business change" is impossible to get in place if Change Management and RFCs is delimited to an operational view. If that is the case the (often) technical change must "push the change up to a business level" which I think is wrong.

What I think is needed is a more holistic view on changes. The ITIL literature is in my opinion both a bit vague on the strategic/tactical support and a bit too focused on the operational parts of a change. To secure a better handling of changes initiated by customers the provider must "meet" the customer and stop accepting RFCs that are "thrown over the wall" or to keep the pyramid view, "down to the operational level".

If the service provider invests (with the customers money as is always the case, right?) in a better cooperation in the creation, interpretation and "breakdown" of RFCs with the customer it is my strong belief that Change Management would benefit. Maybe it is needed to point out that RFCs initiated from the operational level have similar requirements although inverted. The technical changes must be of value for and in alignment with the business, right?

"Business reorganisation" and "the adaptive business" are really strong drivers in todays businesses and change is business critical. To serve these businesses well it is my humble opinion that we have to adopt a more tactical and perhaps even a strategic view on Change Management.

What is your view on this? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts on the subject!

Regards, David :-)

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