What does a CAB (change advisory board) do in the context of ITIL service transition?

What does a CAB (change advisory board) do in the context of ITIL service transition?

There is no such thing as infallible infrastructure; this line of thinking applies directly to IT as well as many other examples from the real world. Even the most thoroughly contemplated design or system is going to require some level(s) of adaptation at some point, even if it is only on a minute scale. This is because the world is dynamic and always shifting in many different directions. At the same time, newer (and perhaps better) technologies are always in development; which once again, requires some kind of adaptation on the part of the IT community.

What does all of this talk of change have to do with ITIL, you ask?  
As you well know (hopefully), ITIL is the pre-eminent resource for methodologies concerning the maintenance and improvement of IT infrastructure, it too (the ITIL) is often subject to the whims of change and sudden progress. But this isn’t about alterations that are to be made to the ITIL itself necessarily (although that is a concern), this is about how organizations that are using ITIL to facilitate a service transition will / can interface with what is know as a CAB.

CAB stands for change advisory board; it is the duty of this specially elected board to oversee that major (and sometimes minor) changes are in fact beneficial to both an IT group and its related business constituency. Whenever some form of request for change is put forth, the change advisory board attempts to look at all the mitigating factors and/or fallout from enacting said changes. The goal here is not only to minimize potential losses in favor of gains, but also to ensure that other areas (which are functioning properly / sufficiently) aren’t negatively impacted. Additionally, it is the job of the CAB to ensure that any changes that are to be put forth are scheduled in such a manner as to not impair ongoing work/production in other areas.

Who is / might be a member of a CAB?
As you might expect, key members of an IT department as well as those in seats of authority on the business side of things are featured members of a change advisory board; but third parties are also often asked to participate, for various reasons. If, for example, suppliers are featured participants of a change advisory board, it is usually because their role in an organization’s business operation is fairly significant. It is very important to have a diverse group of individuals (from virtually all sectors of an institution) presiding on a CAB simply because this allows for more thorough collection of potential missteps (that may occur do to enacted changes).

According to what is generally written (with regards to the ITIL lifecycle), the purpose of service transition is to essentially update elements of one’s IT infrastructure to meet new business demands or goals. However, despite its seemingly simple definition, service transition can be a difficult and sometimes tricky situation to navigate, particularly if your organization is reliant on certain elements which are being addressed / upgraded.

How important is a Change Advisory Board?  
If a change advisory board isn’t properly doing its job the entire IT and business operation is at serious risk; this is especially true for those institutions who are more or less solely reliant on the consistent delivery of IT services / assets (on a daily basis). Given that service transition is another facet of instituting an ITIL service-lifecycle scenario, it should also go without saying that members of any CAB should be well-versed in (at the very least) basic knowledge of the foundations of ITIL.

This of course brings us to yet another vitally important question; are you or your IT department ITIL certified / trained?

The purpose of familiarizing oneself with ITIL is to gain additional insight into the best practices for servicing and / or improving upon elements of IT infrastructure. Aside from any increased knowledge or understanding you might gain from formally undertaking study of ITIL, there are other real-world benefits to consider, such as promotions and salary increases.

Regardless of how any one person or group might feel about ITIL, the fact of the matter is that it is one of the absolute best references for IT professionals, and as such, should become common knowledge and intrinsic to how operations are carried out. Likewise, elements of IT infrastructure are going to have to be changed and/or upgraded from time to time, given that ITIL has a system which is specially designed to help facilitate this type of “service transition” doesn’t it make prudent sense to utilize it?  However, as previously stated, before that can happen team members need to be onboard the “ITIL express train”, so to speak.

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