Every company will have a different road to change
management, if only because no two companies are alike in their processes and
practices. In addition, a great deal depends on how large the company is, how
much change it needs to manage and what its IT department can handle. And, of
course, the biggest single factor is knowing how change works in your
organization and deciding how that should translate into a formal change
For Chris Moore, vice president of IT at Uponor North
the process started with an Internet search for software. Moore
had already come to the realization that he needed to get a handle on managing
change in the IT department, so he decided to start there and expand. He said lack
of change management had led to some problems, or "catastrophes."
When changes were made, there were frequently unintended consequences.
"There was some business pressure to do this because
they [his managers] didn't understand why these catastrophes kept happening,"
On the other hand, he had a limited budget and couldn't
afford to pick the wrong package. Moore
also decided to move deliberately so the process would disrupt his day-to-day
operations as little as possible. As a result of his Internet searches, Moore
eventually picked ChangeGear from SunView Software.
The process, according to Moore,
took a while. He talked to SunView Software for several weeks, and spent a
couple of months planning and more weeks loading the IT assets into the
software before it was ready for full-scale use.
Paul Smith, senior network engineer at Metafore Technologies,
a division of Montreal-based IT
solutions provider Hartco,
approached it from a different
direction. He needed to get a handle on changes to his operating environment,
specifically Active Directory, so that he could allow changes to take place in
an orderly fashion without unintended consequences-but also without giving
assistant administrators too much access. In short, he wanted to automate the
change process, remove manual steps and in the process eliminate most errors.
Smith said his company chose Ensim Unify
automate the change process. "It's removed a lot of administrative
overhead for my department," Smith said, "and it's saved a lot of
time. We used to have a lot of manual steps for user management. We don't have
those steps anymore. From my own experience it has lowered [the number] of
As was the case with Moore,
Smith did his research on the Internet and performed his own implementation.
Because his goals were specific and limited, he was able to choose a package
that solved his exact problem and implement it himself. "Implementation
took not even an hour," Smith said. "It was done with guided
installation help [from] one of the system engineers from Ensim. An hour later
we were up and running. No changes were needed."
Ultimately, change management is an organizational issue.
While change management software can be a real help, if a company's change
process is broken or if the people handling change management don't have the
authority to enforce it, then change management software will only automate the
chaos. On the bright side, users often report that adopting change management software
led to organizational improvements.
"Do process first," said Glenn O'Donnell, a Forrester
Research analyst. "If you automate anything, it'll just do it faster. If
you automate a bad process, it'll do bad things faster." O'Donnell suggested
that the fundamental action must be to get your head around the process and
what the process ought to be.
Once you have the process figured out, you need to have a
commitment from all of the stakeholders in the process to make the changes you
need to make with the change management system. Otherwise you can't implement those
changes, O'Donnell said. He also suggests that the easiest way to get buy-in is
to go after the low-hanging fruit first; but which part of your operation meets
that description depends on your company.