Change Enablement in the Cloud - Change Enablement in the Cloud

Change Enablement in the Cloud

Publication date: June 27, 2024 (Document revisions)

Like every business function, change management should provide the capability for your organization to succeed. Just as every business has a finance function to govern spending, change management is essential for optimizing business risk. You can benefit from change management if you have migrated to the cloud, have a hybrid environment, or architected your workload natively in the cloud. An effective change management process is agile and reduces time to market while optimizing risk to your business. With an efficient process, you can improve the quality and speed of delivery of all changes for the business. An effective record of change should also act as one of your first troubleshooting references if an incident occurs.

Typically, businesses transitioning to the cloud expect to iterate on products and deliver enhanced business value through an increased volume of changes to their IT infrastructure and applications. Current industry trends indicate that a high performing change management process is comprised of increased frequency of deployment, improved lead time for a change, and lower failure rates. However, to achieve this, it also requires version control and continuous delivery, as well as automated testing and deployment capabilities. Research also suggests that peer-reviewed changes within a team can achieve the same level of risk optimization as using a change advisory board. This is important because it allows organizations to decentralize change approval authority. (ITILĀ® 4: High-Velocity IT, PeopleCert+)

By following the guidance in this paper, updating your processes aligns with both the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) and the AWS Well-Architected Operational Excellence Framework, ensuring adherence to best practices in governance when deploying changes to your AWS environment.


In a cloud computing environment, new IT resources are readily available. This reduces the time it takes to make resources available to your developers, which leads to a dramatic increase in agility for the organization. As a result, the cost and time it takes to experiment and develop is significantly lower. For more detail, see Six advantages of cloud computing.

The more successful an organization is at increasing its agility in the cloud, the more difficult it can become to manage change. Traditional processes can impede the volume and speed the cloud enables. Business stakeholders may have become accustomed to longer release cycles using waterfall methodologies, and challenges can arise from the transition to working in a way that increases the frequency of software releases. These challenges may result in increased stakeholder engagement, the introduction of unnecessary gates that hinder development progress, or unmanaged changes. Modernizing your change management process will be necessary to overcome these challenges.

Make frequent, small, and reversible changes. Design workloads to allow smaller components to be updated more frequently. Plan your changes in smaller increments that can be reversed if they fail (without an impact to business outcomes). Use this approach to achieve the desired agility. AWS best practices and strategies for designing and operating a cloud workload align with this approach. A change process must continue to govern the deployment of a new services, software, patches, and configuration changes.

In the cloud, you can enable automated governance with a complete audit trail of the deployment steps. Due to automated deployment capabilities, you can preserve agility by reducing the penalty if a rollback of a failed change is required. To achieve cloud agility, organizations must rollback changes that have adverse business consequences, and automate this process where possible. The automation should enforce change policies to occur within the software development pipeline as regularly scheduled and unscheduled changes continually flow. Different policies and procedures should exist for emergency changes or changes that require manual processes during deployment.