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Why Change Management Is So Important for Highly-Regulated Industries

November 2, 2023
Why Change Management Is So Important for Highly-Regulated Industries

What is IT Change Management?  

Within an organization’s IT environment, it is crucial to implement changes in a streamlined, controlled, and coordinated way to ensure business continuity.  Introducing newer technologies to the IT infrastructure, system updates, staffing changes, etc. can affect security, business productivity and operations if not properly managed and implemented.  The IT Change Management process aims to streamline changes and thereby minimize disruptions, mitigate risks like downtime and security breaches and support seamless transitions for employees, customers, and all stakeholders. 

The Importance of IT Change Management 

For heavily regulated industries such as healthcare, financial services, energy, and utility companies, managing technology changes is even more important. Government regulations are in place for a reason. To protect the people that are served by these businesses.  Compliance audits and reporting can be difficult to manage if you do not have a strong change management process and software in place. Even in the less regulated industries, any IT change needs to be documented, approved, and implemented with best practices to avoid business risk. This includes a small change such as adding a new Wi-Fi router to a building as well as a major change such as the implementation of an ERP solution. 

Top 8 Elements for An Effective Change Management Approach 

  1. Risk Assessment: Proposed changes need to be evaluated before anything begins. Understanding the level of effort and the potential risk and benefit of a change is the first step for any significant change. 
  1. Impact Assessment: Evaluate the effects of a change considering factors like system downtime, user training, affected departments and the number of users impacted. 
  1. Change Advisory Board (CAB) review and Regulatory compliance: Once the decision is made to move forward, a deeper evaluation of the change relevant to regulatory policies, internal standards, authorization, notifications, and approvals is done. This begins the plan process and potential design steps required. 
  1. Cross functional collaboration: Ensure that teams with expertise, experience and potential business impact are included in your project review and implementation plan. 
  1. Post-implementation review: Conduct an evaluation across stakeholders (go back to the team in point 3) to ensure that the change addressed the original purpose behind the change. Test and validate that there was no resulting negative impact. 
  1. Reporting and documentation: As with all IT changes, documentation and reporting must be available to meet a variety of requirements from management to audit reporting. 
  1. Communications: Keep stakeholders informed of the benefits and implications of the change. Best practices also include the notification of scheduled outages and the timeline of the changes to ensure cleaner transitions. 
  1. Monitor and feedback: Monitor and track the progress of the changes and make any adjustments based on feedback and outcomes. 

Change is a Constant Across Any Organization 

Managing change effectively across any organization is important.  From a business continuity perspective to maintain uptime and remain competitive, to meet regulatory requirements, IT needs to deliver a stable and reliable environment. Good change management needs to be built into the tools leveraged across teams. Key groups include developers to IT analysts to your CAB (change advisory board). The ability to manage documentation, change requests, approvals, and reporting is required for a full IT change management process. IT is responsible for meeting the changing needs of the business, providing regular service updates and much more. Change is a constant and with the right software solution, your IT organization can consistently meet all service demands.  

ChangeGear Change Manager is a robust change management solution with automated workflows, advanced approval capabilities (hierarchical, proxy approvals), detailed calendar options and more. For information, reach out to a solution expert.  

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