The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and many others have much to say about change management and change management process and so we don’t intend to get into a great amount of detail here but rather touch on the high level process that defines change management.
Typically, the creating and deployment of changes (build, test and deploy) is not included because it isn’t part of the change management process. As per ITIL, the change management is concerned with the planning and review process and consists of five basic steps – each requiring business user involvement. These include:
1. Filtering Requests for Change (RFCs)
Each RFC is reviewed and considered in light of business impact and available resources prior to being accepted and then prioritized.
2. Assessing the impact of changes
Each filtered RFC is assessed based on potential business impact and prioritised accordingly.
3. Authorizing changes
At this step all assessed changes are put up for approval and a forward schedule of changes comes into effect.
Build – Test – Deploy phase
4. Reviewing Changes
After the changes have been implemented each is reviewed and lessons learned documented.
5. Closing RFC
After the user has accepted the change, the Request for Change (RFC) is then closed.
Managing change management process
Managing the change management process within an SAP environment manually is not something we come across very often. Generally this process is effectively managed with an integrated service management tool that shares information among all the IT Service Management (ITSM) processes. These tools include the likes of Remedy (BMC), Tivoli (IBM), Service Desk (HP) or SAP Solution Manager Service Desk.
Although these tools very effectively manage the change management process, they do lack standalone integration into the SAP operational layer where the actual changes take place and where business involvement is more difficult to facilitate.
Change management becomes very much more effective when linked with a process that manages, makes visible and includes the business user in the entire Build, Test and Deploy process, the subject of the next article.