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What is a Change Advisory Board (CAB)?

Some organizations choose to designate a team of IT specialists to ensure smooth service transitions that do not interfere with company business. A Change Advisory Board, or CAB, is this group of people. Service transition is a phase of IT service management (ITSM) within an Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). This is a framework of practices that aims to keep IT services in line with the business’s ongoing needs. For example, the process of an organization’s digital transformation may involve changes in service, which could potentially cause delays or challenges in the company’s operation. The CAB is there to manage the service transition in order to avoid these disruptions in work. Let’s take a look at who a Change Advisory Board consists of and what these members do.

Members of a Change Advisory Board

A group of Change Advisory Board members meets to discuss strategy.

CABs generally include several high-level IT strategists. Ideally, they should be a diverse group of leaders from throughout the organization. These are the roles you will typically see in a Change Advisory Board:

  • Change Manager. This is the person who leads the meetings and has the final say in decision making.
  • Operations Manager(s). Those involved in daily operation of the organization should be part of the team.
  • Information Security Officer. Likewise, someone who manages daily network security can contribute valuable information on potential vulnerabilities during a change.
  • Senior Network Administrator. This would be another member who can comment on the network and cloud infrastructure of the company, and should have additional years of experience.
  • Application Manager. This person would be someone who oversees application deployment and development, bringing the insight related to that area.
  • Service Desk Manager or Analyst. Having experience taking service calls and documenting incidents, this member would understand issues that typically arise in service delivery and be able to identify potential problems ahead of time.
  • Business Relationship Manager(s). Anyone in this role would work with clients, either in a business-to-business (B2B) setting or directly with consumers. This interaction would give such member(s) firsthand knowledge of consumer needs and desires.

Functions and Responsibilities

The main function of the Change Advisory Board is to ensure quality operations and production throughout all changes. In that process, these are responsibilities that the team needs to be in charge of:

  • Assessing resources, risks, and consequences of changes requested.
  • Reviewing and overseeing the approval process.
  • Creating review documentation.
  • Making sure architectural standards are met.
  • Communicating with other business leaders and company employees about change management processes.
  • Organizing application timelines to avoid conflicts with any other business schedules.
  • Reducing risk as much as possible.
  • Making use of change management software as needed.
  • Providing consistent quality to customers throughout the process.
  • Assessing any failed changes and strategizing for improvement.

A Typical CAB Meeting

How often a Change Advisory Board meets depends on the organization. This might be anywhere from daily to monthly. In a typical meeting, the CAB would look at proposed Requests for Change (RFCs), review the potential impacts of each one, discuss what would be needed in order to implement the changes, and organize them by priority and feasibility. Sometimes an emergency CAB, or eCAB, is scheduled when an incident occurs. In either case, only the Change Manager has the authority to make final decisions.

Should You Call a CAB?

A woman considers whether her organization should set up a Change Advisory Board.

So, do you need a CAB for your organization’s service changes? Some would say no question, you do. If you’re really averse to setting one up, there are tips to replace a CAB with automated approvals and risk assessments. But this route would take time for initial setup and still needs IT managers involved in getting it started. If you’re unsure which path is right for you, give us a call or drop us a note and we’ll be happy to discuss it further with you.

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