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How can ITIL help with my change control management process?

Learn how ITIL can help with your change control management process in this expert response by Paul Kirvan.

How can ITIL help with my change control management process?
Ever since the advent of information technology there has been a need to manage changes to systems, networks, infrastructures, documentation, procedures, policies and many other activities. To avoid chaos and to complete changes in a timely and cost-effective fashion, structured processes for effecting change have been developed over the years. They can be very simple, using a table format like this:


System affected

Description of change requested

Date of change request

Work performed to fulfill change

Date completed

Approved by








By contrast, the change control management process can get very complex. This may require a separate change management system to process requests, keep track of them, provide alerts when critical dates are approaching (or have been missed), and facilitate closing out each request.

Change management is a key function within IT Service Management (ITSM), which addresses a broad range of activities associated with an IT operating environment. Within the ITIL framework, change management defines controls associated with managing changes to all configuration items (CIs) in a Configuration Management Database (CMDB). A key point is that ITIL addresses live, test and training environments, and not development or deployment environments. An Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) term, CMDB denotes the repository of all components within an information system.

ITIL defines the goal of the change management process as ensuring that "standardized methods and procedures are used for efficient and prompt handling of all changes, in order to minimize the impact of change-related incidents upon service quality, and consequently improve the day-to-day operations of the organization."

Encouraging the use of standardized methods and procedures is an important way that ITIL improves the change management process.

ITIL's approach to change control management includes the notion of business justification, which demonstrates that there is a defined business reason for the requested change and the associated funding. The business justification process typically takes place in the early stages of change management, such as defining the change or initiating the change.

The change management process typically includes the following activities (controls): defining changes; requesting and recording them; analyzing the business impact, costs, benefits and risks; developing a business justification; obtaining approval and funding, facilitating the change process; implementing the change; monitoring and reporting on the change implementation process, updating documentation; coordinating training; auditing the change against company change policies and controls; and then closing out the original change request.

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