Documentation forSolarWinds Service Desk

Change catalog

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Introduction

The Change Catalog helps ensure smooth workflow processes during times of transition (Change Lifecycle). This can include pre-approval for standard changes and low-level risk changes with a proven history of success. The Change Catalog allows you to create templates to ensure changes always adhere to the basic organizational approved processes.

Before you proceed, it is a good idea to understand Change Management and the Change Management Lifecycle.

Some of the most common motivators for change are:

  • Security
  • Maintenance
  • Performance
  • Software upgrades
  • Hardware upgrades

Prior to making any changes, consider the following factors:

  • Company resources
  • Budget
  • The effect on the organization during the change process (for example, the possibility of a simultaneous change collision).
  • How you can ensure you deliver organizational success and outcomes.

Benefits

Implementing Change Processes provides numerous benefits across your organization, such as:

  • Driving consistency in routine Change Plans. For example, changing a network router is standard procedure. Whether you want to upgrade or replace a faulty router, over 80% of the change processes are common across all types of routers.

  • Accelerating and streamlining Approval and Execution workflows (and more). As in the example above, by providing a template to request a network router change, the organizational process has already been approved and all that is left is to follow the preset guidelines.

Best practices

To maximize the benefits of smooth and efficient changes throughout your organization and throughout the lifecycle of the change being implemented, SolarWinds provides these best practices.

  • Create a unique change catalog item (CCI) for every type of change.

    ITIL® defines three main change types: Standard, Normal, and Emergency.

    Many organizations use their unique variations of names to manage their change templates and processes more easily. Therefore, SWSD provides the option to define custom change types. This allows you to better organize and sort your CCIs by additional types, for example, Mandatory or Maintenance.

    Here are three out-of-the-box examples of CCIs:

    •  Replace hard drive in server.
    •  Update Operating System using SolarWinds Patch Manager.
    • Add email server and Spam Experts.
  • Include type and family in the naming convention (for example, Network, Application, Infrastructure).
  • Manage your unique variations of names to manage change templates and processes through SWSD by defining custom change types. This allows you to better organize and sort your CCIs by additional types, for example, Mandatory or Maintenance.

    To create custom change types, go to Setup > Global Settings > Service Desk Settings, and then scroll down Change Type Values.

  • Make sure relevant permissions are assigned per user to allow each role to best carry out their responsibilities in the Change Process. (Contact your administrator for proper permission assignment.)
  • Attach Incidents to CCIs created. As you work, the AI capabilities in your service desk will offer relevant Incidents that relate to the configuration item created.
  • Whenever you have repeat requests, it is important to schedule the request in advance via the actions column and/or the Actions icon button. This is useful for requests such as:
    • Backup servers
    • Check fire extinguishers.
  • Always update your change calendar (from the Actions menu, select Change Calendar) to receive a link that is supported by all applications that support iCalendar.
    • Be aware that Changes that are declined or On Hold status will not be pushed to the Change Calendar.
    • The Change Calendar only reflects changes available to the user who created the changes via their roles and permissions. Therefore, it is important to share only with users with equal or greater permissions. Anyone with limited permissions cannot view the changes on the calendar.
    • Refresh the Change Calendar. Changes are updated via the schedule of the application you select to use with the calendar, therefore changes made are not reflected immediately.
  • Use custom titles that include inputs from the Change process to prevent multiple change records with the same title.

    While using Change templates shortens processing times, drives consistency, and reduces human error, identifying specific changes directly from the index can be more challenging. You want to avoid having multiple Change records for backing up a server, all originating from the same template, with the same title.

    To help identify these records quickly, you can add a custom title that includes inputs from the Change process, such as:

    • Back up {{server_name}} on {{date}}
    • Back up {{server_name}} to {{backup_location}}
  • See Change Calendar to gain a deeper understanding of the Change Calendar and how it works.

Navigation

Service Desk > Change Catalog.

Change catalog

Changes may be unique in the specific details. Numerous change processes can use the same change template to achieve successful outcomes. As the templates are editable, in the same family (for example, network, applications, infrastructure), and even across families, you can rely on the basic structure of the template and customize it to take into account the specifics relevant to the change being addressed.

All changes require consideration of factors such as team members affected and budget. By creating CCIs, defined here as templates, you can include all general processes, thereby accelerating the Change Request process and ultimately the Change Management Lifecycle.

The Change Catalog is a repository of CCIs, which are change plan templates you have predefined for each change type. The use of these CCIs by change requesters and implementers will help enforce the use of consistent ITIL® best practices across your organization, reduce manual processing times, and change failures caused by poorly planned changes.

Each CCI can be added to the Portal Guide for Portal users to initiate approved changes.

The Change Catalog is also available on your mobile device.

After creation of each CCI, notice your options:

  • Show in Portal: When selected, this option allows end users to request the Change directly from the Portal.
  • Request: Initiate the Change request.
  • Actions:
    •  Clone: Clone the CCI
    • Schedule Request: Allows users to schedule a future request rather than at the time the request is being made.

Change catalog index page

To view the Change Catalog index page navigate to Service Desk > Change Catalog.

You can filter, edit, and customize your index page (for example: add, delete, and reorganize the columns). For more details on filtering, editing, and customizing, see List view.

Title Description
State
  • Draft: CCI owner is still working on it
  • Internal: CCI is ready for review process or is being reviewed
  • Approved: CCI is published and ready to be used /Requested
Type
  • Standard
  • Normal
  • Emergency
  • Custom
Name The name field is for your benefit and does not affect the process. SolarWinds recommends that you include the type and family (Network, Application, Infrastructure, etc.) in the naming convention.
Description Explain the relevant topics in the change you plan to achieve
Created By Individual who opened the request
Created At Date request was created (when you select the CCI, the date and time are revealed in the CCI details page)
Scheduled Yes or No in this column reflects whether or not a change request (CR) has been scheduled
Actions

Based on the state of the CCI, the following actions will be available:

  • Draft: Delete CCI
  • Internal: Delete CCI
  • Approved: Initiate request of this item or delete.

Initiating a scheduled request can be accomplished via the Actions column and/or the Actions icon button in the upper right corner of the CCI.

For more information. see Schedule Request.

To increase control of the process, you must manually update the State. This ensures the request process does not begin before all phases of the plan are put in place.

By selecting the Columns icon, you can edit the columns in your view, add, delete, or return to default table view.

Create a new change catalog item

See Change catalog items for instructions on creating a new change catalog item.

Ad Hoc changes

Whenever a single-use change is necessary, an ad hoc change is the best way to proceed. It neither requires nor creates a CCI.

For example, across your organization you are replacing the phone system with VoIP (Voice over IP) technology. When the change process is complete, it will not need to be repeated. You can request an ad hoc change that will not be saved as a CCI for future use. Instead, it will appear as a change created without a template.

  1. From the Changes index page, click Add .

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the dropdown menu and click Create New Ad Hoc Change.

  3. In the New Ad Hoc dialog, notice the information requested is similar to that of a CCI with the execution of the Custom Fields that are included in this form.

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