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What is Change Management in ITIL: A Comprehensive Guide

30th Jan, 2024
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    What is Change Management in ITIL: A Comprehensive Guide

    Every day, new technologies become a part of the world and older ones turn obsolete. While this does not impact the nature of solutions offered by businesses, it does affect the delivery of such solutions. If the businesses do not switch to new technologies, they would be drowned out by competition, or become irrelevant to their customers. That’s why IT introduces changes to bridge the gap between business demands and their solutions. 

    If you’re wondering what role ITIL plays here, or more specifically, what is Change Enablement (change management, not to be confused with organizational change management) in ITIL, the simple answer is that ITIL simplifies the process for IT professionals by putting forward the best strategies for managing the changes. These strategies enable a business to stay in the competition without negatively impacting the existing customers. 

    What is ITIL Change Management?

    Every business wants to stay on top of the competitive world but most of them ask, So, for this, it is imperative to understand what is change management in ITIL. 

    According to ITIL, change management is the modification of the company’s IT infrastructure that can lead to a direct or indirect effect on its operations without increasing the associated risk. The modification can be an addition, subtraction, or a switch in the strategy to improve the results. 

    You can enroll in one of the leading IT Service Management Courses Online to gain practical knowledge. The courses will help you learn what is change management in ITIL with all the necessary examples.

    What Are the Objectives?

    The primary objectives of change management in ITIL are – 

    • Minimum risk and impact 
    • Current working state maintenance 
    • Communication and approval management 
    • Effective results with resource optimization 
    • Minimum incidents caused due to the change 

    One of the best ways to learn about ITIL change management and implement the changes effectively, an organisation can enrol in the online ITIL Foundation Certification. 

    Scenarios Where ITIL Change is Used

    Scenarios Where ITIL Change  is Used

    Once the company has understood what is change management in ITIL, it is time to understand in which scenarios it is explicitly used –   

    • A new data centre is implemented 
    • A bug fix is deployed to the production environment 
    • Windows are patched 
    • An ERP service provider is replaced 
    • OS is upgrade 

    Improve the skills and knowledge of the ITIL Change Management

    Knowledgehut ITIL foundation certification online is a comprehensive course where you can – 

    • Gain knowledge through digital and IT services 
    • Learn with the assistance of case studies, real-world simulations, auto-graded assessments, and more

    ITIL Change Management Objectives

    Once proper learning is received, many organisations wonder what is change management in the ITIL process? But before understanding the process, it is important to know the objective behind it.  

    • Allow the organisation to take control of the continuous changes

    Change management increases the organisation’s control over the continuous IT changes and helps them in the implementation without increasing the risk. If a standard change management process is followed, it is assured that every aspect, including risk assessment, planning, and implementation tracking can be managed.

    • Better implementation of ITIL changes

    When the organisation keeps a proper track of the change process, it can work towards achieving all the change requests. This also helps in the identification and restriction of unauthorised changes. Here is the process an organisation can follow – 

    • A user submits the change request through the service desk tool 
    • The organisation collects the required information about the change request and decides whether it needs to be implemented or not 
    • A robust approval mechanism is created which ensures that the change request has all the necessary permissions before the implementation 

    Continuous Improvement for the future

    What is change management in ITIL? It is not a one-time process, but rather an IT strategy that needs continuous attention and improvement.

    Change Management Process Flow

    Change Management Process Flow

    What is Change Management Process in ITIL? 

    Just like any other strategy carried out in an organisation, ITIL enablement (change management) is also implemented through a proper process. This helps in step-by-step analyses and spontaneous changes if required.

    1. Submission  

    The first step involves the collection of change ticket information, including its priority and type. 

    1. Planning 

    This is the step where the change happens. Before the implementation of any strategy in an organisation, it is properly planned for effective results. Similarly, all the change requests are planned and implemented after the collection of necessary approvals. 

    1. Approval 

    Before a planned change is implemented, it requires approval from the company’s CAB (Change Advisory Board), ECAB (Emergency Change Advisory Board), and other authorities that have a stake in the requested change or the organisational infrastructure affected by it. 

    1. Implementation 

    The next step is to implement the change. This is where the plan comes into action and an organisation has to keep track of the implementation and manage it. The task can be – 

    • Delegated to different technicians through separate tasks 
    • Use projects to manage large-scale changes, such as moving the IT infrastructure to the cloud 
    1. Review 

    After change enablement and implementation, it has to be scrutinised to ensure that there are no deviations from the plan and all the current issues are resolved before the change is rolled out.

    1. Closure 

    As the name suggests, this step is where the completed change is categorised into a success, failure, or incomplete. It helps in careful and accurate analysis for the future.  

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    Change Management Benefits

    The changes carried out in the IT infrastructure benefit the organisation and end-users in different ways – 


    • Effective change management minimises collisions between different stakeholders 
    • Allows roll out of upgraded solutions without affecting the current operations 
    • Minimum change failures 
    • Precise classification of all the changes 

    End Users: 

    • Improved communication regarding the unavailability or downtown of services because of the scheduled changes 
    • Minimum disruptions that are generally caused due to unorganised changes

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    Types of Changes in ITIL

    IT changes are categorized into different types for better understanding and implementation – 

    • Standard 

    These changes are carried out in the IT infrastructure where the risks and implementation process are clearly stated. They are managed in accordance with the IT organisation’s change policies. Standard changes are easy to implement and prioritise and do not need approval from the risk’s perspective. 

    • Normal

    These changes go through the proper process before approval and come under the high-risk category. They generally seek the advisory board’s approval before implementation. 

    • Emergency

    These changes have to be rolled out due to unforeseen threat or error that has to be addressed immediately. They include infrastructural flaws or security threats to the company. 

    Change Management Roles and Responsibilities

    A single individual cannot handle the change management and that’s why it is important to delegate the responsibility to the team members. The team of change management includes – 

    • Initiator: This individual identifies the requirement for a change and should always be someone who works with the support service tools. 
    • Coordinator: A coordinator assesses the change requests originated from various management services, prioritises them as required, determines the associated impact and risk, prepares the implementation plan, and monitors the changes. 
    • Manager: A manager is commonly found in mid-level and large companies. This person manages the procedures, receives the requests, evaluates the risks, and maintains a record of the result of the changes. 
    • Advisory Board: The changes and evaluation requests are authorised by this team. It usually comes into action if the manager thinks the risk involved is high. The board analyzes the risks and decides whether to proceed with the change request or not. 
    • Approver: The person decides whether a change is approved or rejected. 
    • Implementation Team: These specialists implement the change. 

    Change Management Best Practices

    The top 5 practices to follow in change management are –

    1. Identification 

    Every change is unique and demands a different level of priority. The best method to manage a change is through its identification. 

    1. Unique Process 

    Each change has unique processing requirements. Following the same plan for all the changes would lead to incompletion and delays. 

    1. Roles and Responsibilities 

    Decentralisation is the key to handling change implementation most effectively. Define the roles and activities for every individual on the team. 

    1. Clear Risk Insight 

    Every change has risks but the intensity differs. It is important to analyse the associated risk with every change to get a clear picture and plan of action. 

    1. Contingency Plan 

    It is always crucial to have a backup plan in place. It stops the company from having to deal with irreversible IT infrastructure damage. 

    Integration with Other ITIL Modules

    Change ManagementRelease Management
    GateKeeper - Protects the production environment while assessing the release plan Doer - Builds, tests and deploys changes as a whole or in batch
    Pre and post deployment activitiesDeployment activities
    Change schedule/ Forward schedule change, FSCLong-term release windows
    Not all changes result in a releaseAll releases involve one or many changes
    Quality control pointPackaging of approved changes
    Authorization processImplementation process
    Strategic levelOperational level
    Post implementation review, PIRVersion control

    Implementation Checklist 

    While working with the ITIL modules, there are some points an organisation should keep in mind – 

    • Change process for discussion with internal teams 
    • Change workflows for automating change processes 
    • Release team members are in the CAB approval 
    • Roles and responsibilities to every CAB member 
    • Change templates to pre-fill standard changes 
    • Define success factors and KPIs for Change Management 
    • Continuous review for improvement 

    Enabling Change – The ITIL Way

    Once an organisation gets a clear understanding of what is change management in ITIL, what this process is, its benefits, objectives, and a handy checklist to keep note of how to go about enabling change; it becomes easier to implement the process and also scale it up where needed. Another important aspect to remember is that the change management process must be documented. Once the change management process is documented, it can be closed out.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What is the ITIL definition of change management?

    According to ITIL, change management is “the addition, modification or the removal of anything that could have an effect on IT services".  

    2What is the scope of change management in ITIL?

    Change management is one of the most crucial and ever-evolving concepts in ITIL. Its scope includes the organisation’s IT services, processes, configuration items, and documentation.


    Manikandan Mohanakrishnan


    Manikandan Mohanakrishnan is a highly skilled corporate trainer, consultant, and content developer with expertise in a wide range of areas including ITIL 4, PRINCE2, Agile/Scrum, PMP, DevOps, and soft skills. With a passion for delivering exceptional training experiences, Manikandan offers a comprehensive suite of training services covering service management, project management, business simulations, and more. With over 20+ years of experience, he has successfully facilitated numerous programs, including business communications, emotional intelligence, team building, and organizational change management. Manikandan's dedication to empowering individuals and organizations shines through his motivational talks and impactful training sessions.

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