“To err is human.” The possibility of human error is everywhere. However thoroughly a roll-out is planned, however fool-proof an update, however tightly-run a deployment strategy, any business that involves humans is going to carry a certain possibility of human error. It comes with the territory.
But the difference between an actionable, swiftly-resolved incident and a days-long, poorly communicated outage that leaves customers unable to access their essential work tools, is a robust change management strategy.
This involves taking a step back and developing an understanding of possible contributing factors of human error. The prevalence of these problems, the possible avenues towards solutions, and the ways in which processes can be improved.
This doesn't mean fully scrubbing away the possibility of human error, as that’s an impossibility.
So how do we approach that balancing act? Well, speaking from our own experience as a company, InvGate values continuous improvement. That means that we’re always looking for ways for both our products and our processes to be better. It also means that we move ahead with changes to our product in pursuit of this improvement. By definition, that carries a certain amount of risk.
However, over the last 12 months we have executed changes across hundreds of instances with a staggering success rate. And we’ve been able to do this thanks to our approach to change management.
How does InvGate manage change?
What does it mean that we’ve been able to maintain such a high success rate when implementing frequent, often wide-spanning improvements to our customer instances? It all comes down to planning and smart utilization of change management (now change enablement under ITIL 4) best practices.
What sets us apart is our work philosophy; we’ve put in place robust processes that do not seek to sacrifice quality for agility. Speedy change is good, and it’s important to keep swiftness in mind when performing any kind of change. But this can’t come at the expense of either quality or compliance.
Another crucial component to our success is openness and availability. We want to be in constant communication with our customers, notifying them of any new development and keeping them abreast of any change that might impact their work. During recent system-wide software outages from other companies, the main complaint from users was about the lack of communication from the vendor, leaving them feeling stranded.
These factors will all vary depending on a number of mitigating circumstances, as well as the category of the change being implemented. But overall, we can say that the key to our success is the combination of our work processes, constant communication with our clients, and the implementation of change through our Service Desk platform.
Key points of InvGate's change management strategy
Like we said, risk is everywhere, and it is impossible to fully stamp out. However, here are a few things we always keep in mind in our change management strategy, to help us mitigate these risks.
- We don’t know everything. However much we can plan ahead for potential contingencies, there is a certain amount of uncertainty that will always exist, and we have to be prepared to face it. This is why we plan out and implement change in gradual cycles.
- It's important to follow best practices. Process standardization is important, and we are beholden to industry-wide best practices and compliance guidelines.
- Don’t implement changes cold turkey. A critical point in effective change management is to exercise caution when implementing system-wide changes, which is why we use various staging environments and demo versions of instances in order to perform testing and find what the response to change might be.
- Don’t sacrifice quality for agility. Testing must be thorough and account for potential complications. If something doesn’t work out the way we expected, we regroup and try again. We all want to be quick, but it’s more important to do it right.
- Keep in touch with users. We find it tremendously important to have a fully 100% open channel of communication with customers. Keeping them informed of the latest developments and any potential setbacks does wonders for the overall customer experience, and the success of the entire operation.
It’s also useful to keep the concept of “What’s In It For Me?” in mind. By effectively communicating the benefits of this particular change, we are letting customers know that this will ultimately result in an improvement to their overall experience.
Change management in InvGate Service Desk
Our platform InvGate Service Desk is a state-of-the-art service desk solution that helps empower your support team to deliver outstanding service with features such as an intuitive ticketing system, automated workflows, and more.
It is also one of a handful of ITSM tools to receive the PinkVERIFY™ ITIL 4® Certification across various core ITIL 4 practices, including change enablement. Let’s take a look at some of the ways the InvGate Service Desk platform supports change management:
- Assess, prioritize, and schedule changes: InvGate Service Desk allows administrators to handle standard, emergency, and critical changes separately with unique and customizable workflows. The visual workflow editor makes the creation of these workflows an easy and intuitive task.
- Automate workflows for every stage right from submission to closure to ensure that nothing is missing. Automation is the backbone of InvGate Service Desk’s change management practice. It allows you to take each request for change (RFC) from logging, through assessment (including the change advisory board), to change authorization and the release management process, all while making the required data and information available and providing insight into RFC progression.
- Publish announcements from within the tool to communicate any planned downtime to end-users. Poor communication is a major contributing factor to user frustration during outages. Keeping end-users informed goes a long way to increase customer satisfaction, and is easily achievable with InvGate Service Desk.
- Change management analytics. All InvGate Service Desk modules are supported by a full reporting and analytics suite, providing change managers the information required to understand how well the change process is performing – from RFC logging through to change approval. These capabilities also meet governance needs around change control such as audit trails.
To recap, the possibility of human error is everywhere. But finding ways to mitigate that risk and come out on top should be a priority for any company, and it comes down to a combination of change management practices, open communication, and equipping yourself with the right tools.