What is change management?
Change management is designed to control risk and minimise disruption to business operations and associated IT services, controlling the lifecycle of strategic, tactical, and operational changes to IT services through standardised procedures. These procedures should be followed to ensure that every change or addition to your Credit Union’s IT environment is tracked, compatible and secure. Credit Union software vendors frequently work with your Credit Union to design change management procedures in-line with an IT Managed Service offering.
There are two things to consider when making changes to your infrastructure:
- The needs of your Credit Union
- Ensuring alignment with international best practices from a regulatory and compliance perspective
To satisfy these considerations, all changes to your Credit Union’s IT infrastructure should be assessed, approved, implemented and reviewed in a controlled manner.
Why does your Credit Union need change management?
For a busy Credit Union whose focus is on growth and serving its members, the importance of having change management controls in place can easily be overlooked. As business operations get more complicated and the demands made on your Credit Union’s time and resources intensify, who will be completing these checks and offering peace of mind? If you can’t answer this question with confidence, or if you know it’s unlikely you’ll be able to focus on this area, you should consider outsourcing to a Managed Service for your Credit Union.
Each time a Credit Union needs ‘material' changes that may have knock on effects across the business (e.g. user access management, firewall configurations, a new printer) they need to check that these installations won’t have any repercussions on the existing IT infrastructure. Easily overlooked changes such as access management should also be raised into the change management process.
Software written specifically for the Credit Union industry has unique capabilities and compatibilities that are best known and understood by your IT provider. Third party devices and software need to be tested against your IT provider’s software and configured so that the two can work together without disrupting your Credit Union’s business systems.
It stands to reason that your IT provider should be your go-to resource for checking a product is OK before introducing it to your environment - really they should be performing the installation to ensure complete compatibility.
The cost of rogue software and hardware
Smaller items like old printers can end up knocking around for a while, being left off inventory lists and sitting, gathering dust, replaced by a newer model but never disconnected. However, these items can be used for less benevolent purposes and can actually be a port of entry to your Credit Union’s network. After all, they are mini-computers, preloaded with software that can talk to most of the devices used to communicate across your Credit Union’s IT environment.
Hardware and software that live past their end-of-life dates, or, like the printer example, are left without firmware updates, pose a serious hacking risk to your Credit Union. This is why you must be vigilant about recording which of your IT assets need to be updated, upgraded or replaced--and an IT Managed Service will help you set the protocols you need do this.
A Managed Service implementation roadmap from your IT partner will provide a record of changes so that your service becomes more predictable - nothing goes out of warranty without someone noticing, cutting down on time spent fixing issues with third party providers, and replacing hardware that's out of warranty.
With a Managed Service, your needs are monitored ahead of time, meaning if there’s a transfer of engagement in November, your Credit Union and your provider’s IT Managed Service team are planning for any necessary infrastructure upgrades well in advance.
Benefit of Change Management
The process of change is a joint exercise between a Credit Union and their IT Managed Service provider to prevent introducing any hardware or software that could interrupt the system and affect your day-to-day activity. Proper change management is achieved by establishing an ongoing relationship with your IT partner and keeping them informed of your hardware and software needs.
Ultimately, your Credit Union is responsible for your own change structure and for engaging with your provider, but your provider is responsible for reviewing suggested changes and assessing their impact, then managing testing and deployment following the Credit Union’s defined change management procedure. The results of successful change management, especially as part of an IT Managed Service will be a much smoother integration of hardware and software.