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 Feature
1 May 2009 | Shirley Lacy Blog
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Business and IT Change Management - Understanding the Impact, Dependencies and Risks of Change in Turbulent Times
This week Shirley looks at why to many complex changes within an organisation can be difficult to assess..

I have been working on the joint itSMF and BCS conference on 15 July - Pragmatic Configuration Management for IT Services - Reducing Cost and Risk. 

When we reviewed the conference papers, we checked to see how the subject matter linked to the conference theme. It is interesting how “Reduce Cost and Risk” can be interpreted from many different perspectives.

I intend to explore some of these perspectives in the next few weeks.  This week I want to explore the topic from a change management perspective. 

More and more complex change that is difficult to assess

Organisations are in different phases of their survival cycle. Some organisations have reduced their costs by cutting their workforce and other resources. These new constraints and limited resources hinder the organisation’s ability to assess the impact of change.

Other organisations have cut their workforce and are re-shaping their business model. Others are growing their market by expanding their services within their current customer base. Some are planning how to transform their business to survive or thrive as we come out of recession.  This means change, change and more change!

The need to cut costs and survive often leads to change initiatives that cross business functions, IT units and IT suppliers as well as the underlying technologies. One example is Mergers and Acquisitions that can be accompanied by complex IT change with tight timescales.

Many organisations are exploring new IT service models and technologies to cut costs and deliver business change. Introducing new technology services can be risky until we understand what we are managing. To help with this the conference in June starts with Ian Osborne, IntellectUK, speaking about  "The Benefits of New Technology Platforms and Services - and the Challenges of Controlling Them

The risks of too many complex changes

With an increase in the volume and complexity of change, many organisations find that they also have insufficient resources to assess and manage their IT changes properly. Limited resources and time mean that it is difficult to understand the impact, dependencies and risks. Major outages start to happen - not one, but many. IT change management cannot cope. The organisation then invokes a change freeze (or a change chill), just when it needs to change to survive! This can lead to other risks for the business and IT. 

A pragmatic approach to staying in control

So what can you do? Here are a few things (from a long list) that work in my experience.

• Assess IT change management and the profile of IT changes.

• Consider improving the process and information to fit today’s circumstances

• Stop  doing complex, parallel changes if your IT service management capability is low

• Prioritise essential changes and stop doing unnecessary changes (they get in the way of essential change) 

• Ensure that IT stakeholder and suppliers are engaged with projects early in the service/system lifecycle

• Increase the time horizon for your change schedule to 6 or 12 months to give better visibility of volumes and enable earlier identification of clashes

There are lots more! To find out about these and share experiences in how to best utilise essential resources in challenging economic times book a place on the BCS and itSMF conference on 15 June 2009 - Pragmatic Configuration Management for IT Services - Reducing Cost and Risk.

Any feedback and comments are always welcome!

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4th May 2009

Most time during critical times affecting financial status of organizations, management decisions are made to cut cost especially in IT. If proper feasibility studies are not carried out to ascertain the positive and negative impact of change, the organization is sure heading to hitting the biggest rock. Any project brings about change, and as such, proper change management has to be in place to ensure that the project's deliverables, dependencies, and risks are proactively identified, and assessed. Some organization still do not involve the CTOs/CIOs in developing new business models but only involves them at the point of starting up new project for business transformation.

Cynthia Osuigwe

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