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ITIL :: View topic - Electronic RFC vs paper
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Electronic RFC vs paper

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Joined: Aug 04, 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:53 am    Post subject: Electronic RFC vs paper Reply with quote

Do you have any comments on electronic RFCs from an auditor's perspective?

Apparently our managers feel we need paper RFCs because the auditors ask to see hand-written signatures.

I feel there must be a way to use digital signatures in this day and age...
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Senior Itiler

Joined: Aug 11, 2006
Posts: 262
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


There are plenty of service management tools that support an automated workflow for (non standard) change management. Personally, I have good experience with both Assyst from Axios and HP Service Desk. I cannot believe that an auditor wants to see paperwork when you can have such a powerfull solution in operation.

Good luck with your auditors, Wink

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Senior Itiler

Joined: Jan 20, 2006
Posts: 172
Location: England

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Michiel said... +

The auditors I know are far more interested in evidence that the process and whether procedures have been followed rather than a paper signature that says they have. I'd go so far as to say that automation of such things that will not permit you to go any further without the appopriate authorisation are less subject to abuse than a paper based system.
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Senior Itiler

Joined: Feb 28, 2006
Posts: 411
Location: Coventry, England

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What itilimp says x 2 especially when dealing with a paper system - I use one and can, therefore, be considered in the know.


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Senior Itiler

Joined: Jan 01, 2006
Posts: 500
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Rmch,

Some things to keep in mind.

A few electronic systems out there, such as our own, require authenticated logins and ensure that every creation, modification, etc. to any and all data is fully timestamped, traced back to the resource performing the action, and that full history details are kept for detailed audit reviews. In such a case, we have yet to come across a single auditing organization that wouldn't accept the electronic data as the definitive source.

The only time it should be an issue is when there is no history and audit records can't be traced back to fully entitled and authenticated users of the system.

The other thing I recommend (on the assumption that the auditors are internal) is to go to the auditing organization and simply ask "why" they require a manual signature. You might find that this might simply be an antiquated/legacy policy that could easily be updated to match the digital age and more modern practices, especially if you can make auditors' lives easier and provide them with more (and more accurate) information. If the auditors are external, then you may want to question their ability to perform quality audits, because we have some of the biggest auditing firms in the world, here in the US, and they're pretty open to accepting electronic trails.

Anyhow, I hope this helps.

[Edited by Admin to remove link]
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Joined: Sep 16, 2006
Posts: 3597
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 6:25 am    Post subject: Electronic RFCs versus paper trail Reply with quote

The Change Management tool which I used (and developed) was an Electronic one.

When we were audited for various standards - the auditer only wanted to see the following

There was a defined process and procedures
There were controls in the process and checks
There was an audit trail of who does what and when.
There was method of notifications and communications

To be honest, an electronic RFC is the best...if they want paper... print the e-RFC out.

John Hardesty
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Joined: Aug 14, 2006
Posts: 16
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi rmch,

When you say auditors, what is it they are auditing?

I think the answers so far have focused on the audit of the processes/procedures.

In my organisation we have auditors for this purpose but also financial audits which are entirely seperate from the service management audits.

The financial auditors prefer to see physical signed copies as they are probably harder to forge but a wider initiative has overrulled them by the introduction of e-filing tool etc which contains an electronic audit trail anyway.

As long as what, who, when and how is recorded it keeps everyone happy. Almost all of the SM tools will have some sort of facility to do this.

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Joined: Aug 04, 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 3:48 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback.

Financial auditors are indeed involved. (ex: For SOX).
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Joined: Feb 20, 2007
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

get them to define exactly which categories of change require a written signature: keep the scope tight. For only those ones, make one step in the workflow be to print it out and get it signed and file it. For everything else just get on with life.
The IT Skeptic
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