When an organization makes the decision to enact a change, such as using different software or implementing a new form of technology, the effectiveness of the change needs to be forecast or measured to determine how it impacts business function. This is especially important for IT departments because it allows them to improve the efficiency and reliability of the services they provide to the businesses and organizations they support, and to demonstrate how those improvements affect the company’s bottom line.
The definition of change management is the process of measuring and managing these improvements. An essential element of the change management process is maximizing user adoption of new changes, as this drives organizational change, success, and outcomes. As a technician, it’s critical for you to properly prepare and support end users before, during, and after a change is made, to optimize project delivery and maximize benefits.
However, while successful end-user adoption is vital, it’s only the first step. IT teams need to be able to demonstrate how the change management practices are driving organizational outcomes, as this ultimately keeps IT teams’ processes efficient and streamlined while making the business more successful. This can be achieved through key performance indicators (KPIs), which are the metrics designed to help businesses determine the health, progress, and performance of their change management practices.
Why Are Change Management KPIs Important?
Change management KPIs are success metrics, which allow businesses to define what organizational success looks like and then track their progress toward those goals. Therefore, the most effective change management practices and decisions will be the ones demonstrating how they directly contribute to the success of the business. For instance, change management KPIs can help IT departments track end-user adoption and changes in end-user productivity following the deployment of new software, and understand how to make improvements to maximize the effectiveness of the rollout.
Effective change management strategy depends on measuring performance and improvement alongside value. This can include measuring KPIs like reducing the backlog of end-user requests associated with a change, reducing the number of changes made without authorization, or increasing the number of changes meeting the requirements of end-user services. The KPIs provide visibility into the areas where the department and company are making progress toward critical business objectives and into where they may need to direct more attention.
Ultimately, change management KPIs are critical because they allow you to measure the business value of the work and services you and your department provide.
The Software Solution for Change Management KPIs
Adequately preparing and supporting end users according to change management best practices requires visibility into your networked environment and a means of organizing and tracking issues as they’re resolved. The right software solution can provide both, while also giving you the tools to track change management KPIs more effectively. Two options I like are SolarWinds® Service Desk and Web Help Desk®. Most of the following features apply to both products, although Service Desk is a SaaS model and Web Help Desk is an on-premises model.
Service Desk is an IT service management (ITSM) platform including several useful tools to make your change management planning more effective. A complex infrastructure can make it more difficult for IT professionals to accurately and precisely predict how a change will affect systems and end users, and I find Service Desk makes planning, reviewing, and deploying changes a much easier process. The software streamlines change management tasks for IT staff by automating processes to minimize the chance of human error or change failures. It also has the added benefit of maximizing consistency across the entire company.
In addition, Service Desk (unlike WHD) includes a configuration management database and release management features, which can provide useful information for the change management process. For instance, the CMDB allows you to track dependencies between components, or between issues and configuration items, and understand potential impacts before they occur.
Like other SolarWinds products, these two platforms have clean, easy-to-navigate dashboards allowing you to quickly examine almost every aspect of your network with a few clicks. These platforms can help automate low-value or time-consuming recurring tasks by including templates for routine changes or actions, which eliminates the need for additional risk assessments while also minimizing disruptions impacting end users.
Both platforms also offer support for the ticketing process. While a perfect deployment without any issues is ideal, most rollouts will encounter snags at some point, even if they’re small. Ticket management, therefore, becomes another important aspect of a typical IT department’s change management practices, as this helps to maximize the company-wide effects of the implemented change.
End users can generate tickets whichever way they’re most comfortable, and these SolarWinds platforms are built to auto-distribute them to the appropriate members of your team, which keeps the workstreams delineated and allows teams to continue resolving small issues without larger tasks clogging the ticket queue. This also provides greater transparency about your team’s responsibilities and enables clear communication for helping your change management system operate more efficiently and effectively. These tools also feature alerting systems to ensure every open ticket is resolved and to help make it easy to escalate and reassign tickets when more serious issues come up.
One last feature about these platforms setting the bar high for other ticket management software is they can auto-generate a “Change Advisory board,” allowing companies to determine which individuals or groups should have oversight over particular changes, and to specify the number of approvals necessary for a change request to be implemented.
These comprehensive ITSM and change management software solutions are simple to use but incredibly powerful tools that get my vote for being some of the best tools for setting and meeting change management KPIs. Both Service Desk and Web Help Desk come with full-feature free trials, so you can test how they improve your change management practices before you buy.