For the DevOps bunch and the CIOs of the world, achieving faster IT change management project lifecycles through the use of advanced software sounds like a dream come true. IT, once a self-contained department, has matured into a full-service technology support network that pervades the entire business.
Reasons to be thankful for this evolution are many. Unfortunately however, this change also makes company investments into IT a matter for many more people than it used to. They are not just applicable to the coders, developers, operations teams or CIOs/CTOs anymore. Furthermore, budgets may be at the whim of people who may not have the expertise to successfully determine the benefits that agile change management offers to businesses utilizing internal or customer-facing applications.
So the question is, how can IT explain the value proposition of using enhanced ITSM change management to decision-makers who aren't as tech-savvy?
1. Leverage familiarity with traditional change management
Agile IT change management may be a relatively new concept, but organizational change management has been around for decades. In fact, it's a relatively popular concept in management circles, especially in asset-intensive industries like manufacturing.
For all intents and purposes, these two forms of change management are the same thing only in different environments. Organizational change management (OCM) pertains to best practices for implementing process changes within a given business. ITSM change management pertains to changes to code within an enterprise configuration. If decision-makers already understand the advantage of OCM, they can apply the same benefits to ITSM change management: more control over changes, quicker workflow, risk prevention, etc. Let's drill down further and unpack these benefits one by one.
2. Start by explaining the ITSM workflow
Whenever an IT department makes changes to a configuration, it does so for one of two reasons - something better has come along or something bad needs fixing. In the past, IT professionals would determine what changes should be made and when, but that's rapidly changing. Gartner predicted 6 billion IoT-enabled devices will make automated service requests by 2018, assuredly increasing the number of potential work orders a company could receive, comb through and manage.
From a sheer volumetric standpoint, IT technicians will need the right tools to mitigate the influx of requests. Part of the discussion includes help desk and service desk automation, but without a centralized channel through which all requests funnel, ITSM professionals cannot ensure every service request reaches them, let alone have the agency to address the ones that matter. As we'll see in a minute, that's far too risky in the age of cybersecurity.
3. Discuss risk in dollar amounts
Like a thief breaking into a person's home, news coverage around enterprise cybersecurity breaches often focus more on the invasion of privacy rather than the eventual cost of the trespass. Perhaps the greater conversation about corporate responsibility and the Hollywood appeal of "blackhats" make for better stories. But it could also be because the extent of the financial damage that breached businesses incur at the hand of hackers. Spotty data management practices, after all, may be too vast for most people to comprehend. A single breach could do untold ruin to customer loyalty and brand image, not to mention the emergency funds reallocated to stem a breach as it occurs. In the last year alone, IBM and Ponemon Institute research found the average cost of a single breach event rose by $200,000, as did the cost per lost or stolen record by $4 a pop.
Not only can advanced change management solutions parse high volumes of service requests to patch gaps in data security, these tools also speed up the change management life cycle so that businesses can reduce time spent being vulnerable and expend fewer resources to regain their defenses.
4. Automation ensures better spending, likelihood of successful change
Already, the decision-maker you're trying to convince should see a conflict forming: the need to both reduce ITSM workload versus the need to increase attention to ITSM for security purposes. But while these two elements may seem to butt heads, they don't have to, so long as advanced change management initiatives include intelligence components such as machine learning algorithms and smart automation.
At the onset, a service desk with machine learning capabilities can potentially use automation to intelligently redirect low-level service requests away from the rest of the ITSM queue and toward relevant self-service knowledge base articles as a means for resolution. The value here is twofold: First, these tools reduce the ITSM ticket-by-ticket workload, allowing technicians to spend more time on requests. Second, when technicians manually interact with a service request, the per-ticket labor costs increase dramatically - from an average of $2 up to $22 as soon as the technician takes over. So for example, whenever a user forgets their password, the machine learning system acts proactively to resolve the request on its own, preventing low-tier requests from high IT labor costs and absorbing technicians' bandwidths.
Further up the toolchain at the change implementation stages, automated features like dependency mapping in a CMDB or regression testing perform extensive checks and balances on new code to ensure it doesn't introduce additional problems into a configuration already suffering from issues. Automation here virtually eliminates the potential for human error - a frequent cause of data insecurity - as well as extra labor costs accrued for reopening old tickets to go over what went wrong.
Moreover, with the unending advancement of cybersecurity threats, businesses should already feel the pressure to double check code and asset dependency. Manual processes, however, will only exacerbate high labor costs, especially considering the growing complexity of network configurations and the influx of new enterprise mobile technology vis-a-vis the Internet of Things (IOT). With so much potential for lost capital, advanced change management software with machine learning capabilities and automation doesn't just save money, it protects businesses from inevitable explosions in operating costs.
You don't need a computer science degree to understand the value change management suites like ChangeGear bring to the businesses that invest in them, but sometimes IT must drop some knowledge to better explain the cost benefits in a way in which anyone can relate. Because in the end, once technicians have integrated change management software into their current processes, a more agile ITSM workflow will impact everybody.