This documentation supports the 21.05 version of BMC Helix ITSM: Change Management. To view an earlier version, select the version from the product version menu.

Overview of Change Management approvals

In order to manage your change request approval process, you must understand the following concepts:

  • The different state transitions that a change request must pass through at a high-level
  • How to map approval processes to approval phases
  • How to define approvers for each phase

When you create and save a company-specific approval process configurations (for example, the review approval process), the system automatically creates the remaining approval process configuration records for your company, based on the default global settings. You can edit these approval process configuration records as needed. In addition, after you have created approval process configuration records for a company, the Global processes are no longer valid for your company.As a result, if you disable the Review approval process configuration record for your company and a change request reaches the Review phase, the Approval Server skips the company Review approval phase (because it is offline) and ignores the Global Review approval phase (even if it is enabled). The change continues to the next status. To revert to the Global configuration, the status of all company approval process configuration records must be offline.

In a multitenancy environment, you can combine approval processes as needed. That is, you might decide Calbro Services needs company-specific approval processes, but DEF Company can use the default global processes.

Related topics

Setting up approval process configuration records for your company

Approval processes Open link

About configuration data records

Change Management uses the approval process configuration data in conjunction with the process flow configuration data to determine which approval process to use when a change request reaches a given state as defined in the Begin field. Once in the Begin state, the Change Management application looks for approvers that have been configured in the Approval Mapping form. If no approvers are found, the application sets the change status to the value corresponding in the No Approvers field. If there are approvers, the next state depends upon the approval outcome. If the approver rejects the change request, the request is placed in the state defined in the Rejected field. If the approver approves the change request, it will be placed in the state defined in the Approved field.

To access the out-of-the-box approval process configuration data, log in to BMC Helix ITSM as an administrator and open the Approval Process Configuration form. Perform a search with the value of the Form Name as CHG:Infrastructure Change to view the following out-of-the-box configuration data records:

Configuration data recordsDescription

Standard Process – Review stage

The approval configuration record for the Review approval stage.

Standard Process – Business Approval stage - No Impact change

The approval configuration record for the Business Approval stage when you set the value of the Change Class field to No Impact for the change request.

Standard Process – Business Approval stage

The approval configuration record for the Business Approval stage.

Standard Process – Implementation Approval stage

The approval configuration record for the Implementation Approval stage.

Standard Process – Close Down Approval stage

The approval configuration record for the Close Down Approval stage.

Standard Process - Automation System – Implementation Approval stage

A modified version of the Standard Process approval configuration record for the Implementation Approval stage when you set the value of the Change Type field to Automation System for the change request.

The Approval Process tab of the Approval Process Configuration form displays the approval process that is defined in the Process Name field and that is used by the application when the change record is in the process stage defined in the Phase Name field.  The approval process is preconfigured using the Approval Server. For example, the approval process that is used with this configuration is the Change Level CI-IA Review and is defined in the Process Name field for the Review stage.

The Status Flow tab of the Approval Process Configuration form displays the state at which the approval process begins and the state in which the record is placed based on the approval results.

The Additional Qualifications tab, displays additional parameters that you can use to select different approval configuration records based on the Type and Class and Timing Reason fields found on the Change form. For example, the Standard Process – Automated System approval configuration record has the value of the Change Type field (visible from the IT Service Management Change Classic view) as Automation System.

Approval process types

Change Management and the Release Management module provide the following approval process types.

For detailed information about defining the approval processes and rules, see  Defining an approval process Open link  and  Defining approval rules Open link  in the Action Request System documentation.



Ad Hoc

Provides routing authority to each approver without requiring the administrator to create approver mappings for every individual or group. The Ad Hoc approval process is used in the No Impact Business Approval phase with the Change Manager as the approver.


Associates individual approvers, or groups of approvers, with impacted areas or configuration items (CIs), or other additional qualifications.


Uses the Requested For manager as the approver. If you configure an approval process that includes the Change Management Chain process, it uses the Requested For manager as the approver. If the Requested For fields are not filled in (on the Change form under the Requester tab), the approval server bypasses the Change Management Chain process.

If you configure an approval process that includes the Release Management Chain process, the approval process uses the manager of the Release Requester (on the General tab of the Release form) as the approver.

Important: Rule-based approvals are not included by default in Change Management.

For example, in the Change Management Chain process, if Joe Unser in HR wanted to upgrade the operating system on his computer and created a change request that required the Change Management Chain approval process, the change request would be sent to Joe's manager for approval. Joe's manager is not a member of the IT organization, and, therefore, might not be aware of additional issues surrounding Joe's request. This process is workflow-driven, triggered from the manager data that is stored in the People form.

If you select the Change Management Chain process, the Max Approval Levels field appears in the Approval Process Configuration form, as shown in the preceding figure. You can specify how deep you want to go in the management chain. For example, if you enter 1, the chain extends only to Joe's manager. If you enter 2, the manager of Joe's manager must approve the upgrade, and so on. However, if you specify three levels, and only two levels of approvers are available, the approval chain is considered complete.


For Change Management, you are allowed only one record per company with the process type of Parent-Child. If an administrator attempts to create a second approval phase with the Change Management Chain (Parent-Child) process type selected, the following error message is displayed: Only one 'Approval Phase' for '$Company$' can be set to use the 'Parent-Child' 'Process Type'.

In addition, you should use a unique approval process for each phase. Otherwise your approvals do not work as expected.

BMC Helix ITSM: Change Management approval state transitions

When a change request moves from status to status, the default workflow on the change request queries the Approval Process Configuration form to find out which approval process to use, and then executes it.

If an approval process has been configured for the company, that approval process is used. Otherwise, the approval process configured for the Global company is used.

For example, when a change request moves from the Draft status into the Review phase, the Approval Server checks the Review approval process (Change Level CI-IA - Review), which is one of the five approval processes enabled by default to work with Change Management. The Approval Server starts the approval process, and then executes the rules in the order of the approvers who are mapped to the approval phase.

The rules contain the qualifications that set up approvers for each phase of that process, and create the approval detail and signature records for the change. If there are no approvers mapped to the Review process, the change request moves to the next phase (Business Approval).

You must set up the approvers by using the Approver Mappings form, as described in Configuring approval mappings for change and release management. The rules query this form using the appropriate criteria, identify the appropriate approvers, and then add them to the change request record as the approvers. (You can view the approvers on the Approvers tab of the change request.)

After an approver approves or rejects the change request, the rules execute again and the next status in the Approval Process Configuration form is set. (See Defining the status of change requests using the Status Flow tab.)

The Approval Server continues based on the Approval Server configuration and process type.

  • In the Approval Server configuration, if Approval Success is set to No More Approvers, the approval server continues until there are no approvers found for the process.
  • In the Approval Server configuration, if Approval Success is set to Completion Rules, the approval server checks for any Completion Rules defined for the approval process. For more information about Completion Rules, see  Completion Check stage rules Open link  in the Action Request System documentation.
  • If the process is a level process type, the Approval Server first sends the change request to the current level approvers. After the request or offering is approved, the Approval Server sends the request to the next level of approvers. On the Approvers tab, only the current level of approvers are displayed even if approvers are specified for several levels.


You can configure additional processes for your company, as needed. For example, you could create a process specifying that change requests require approvals when they reach the Planning in Progress status.

Approval state transitions for change requests moved to an earlier stage

When a change request is moved to a previous stage, all the generated signatures are retained. Any signatures for the phases that the change request needs to pass through will be regenerated and will require to be approved. Approval records in the Approvals section of the change request are displayed based on how the change status is moved to a previous stage.

The change request can move to a previous stage in one of the following ways:

  • Approval Process Configuration for a rejection is configured to move the change to an earlier stage.
  • User clicks the Back option on the accelerator menu.
  • Change transitions back when the change request is in the Cancelled status, and user clicks the Next stage option.

On the change request, based on the option you select in the Approvers section, the following signatures are displayed:

  • All approvers—All existing signatures for the previous phases, and any future signatures associated to the change request.
  • Future approvers—Displays only pending approvals for the phases that will occur in future.

Understanding the relationship between company and global approval process configuration

The Change Management application defines default approval phases (Review, Business Approval, Implementation Approval, Close down). These phases are designed for global use, and most companies will not need to create additional approval configuration records.

However, you can use the Approval Process Configuration form to create additional approval process configuration records, either for global use or for the company designated as the Change Manager support company on the Assignment tab in the change request. Change Management verifies whether an Approval Process configuration has been defined for the Change Manager's company and if found, applies that Approval Process configuration. For example, you can create a process that bypasses the normal approval process for emergency change requests.


Do not modify the global best practice phases. If you need different approval process configuration records, see the detailed instructions in Setting up approval process configuration records for your company.

Company-based approval processes that you create take precedence over global configuration records, as shown in the following figure.

When a change request reaches an approval phase, the Approval Server first evaluates any company configuration records that you have created and the global configuration records are ignored. If there are no company configuration records, the Approval Server then uses the global configuration records.

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