The Configuration Management Database has been a hot ServiceNow topic for years. We already know how important it is when it comes to IT decision-making and finding dependencies among processes, people, applications and IT infrastructure. But to fully enjoy all the benefits of CMDB implementation, it is good to get prepared before it is up and running. How? Here you can find a few tips based on our and our clients’ experience!
- 1 What is a configuration management database?
- 2 Business benefits of CMDB implementation
- 3 How to implement CMDB
- 4 #1 Ensure compliance in configuration management
- 5 #2 Apply data centre consolidation & improve security
- 6 #3 Implement enterprise change management
- 7 #4 Ensure transparency and visibility for innovation
- 8 CMDB – make it successful
What is a configuration management database?
CMDB is a standardized database repository with all the relevant information both about the hardware and software used in your organization and how these components relate to each other. Getting this clear overview of configuration data lets you examine it from different perspectives, finding opportunities for improvement, faster resolution of incidents and fewer errors. Implementing this huge data warehouse and storing information about your IT infrastructure is not an overnight task, but it allows you to have a purpose-built database for configuration management.
Business benefits of CMDB implementation
Growing organizations face a common challenge: keeping track of all the assets. The great benefit of using CMDB is that you have everything in one place, which means transparency, visibility and improved IT infrastructure management, considering compliance with software license agreements. The risks carried by change deployments can be easily contained through CMDB, ensuring smooth transitions without business disruptions caused by unplanned changes or misconfiguration. Sourcing data from different parts of the business improve the incident management process, helps track changes over time, and automates software discovery processes. With CMDB, you do not stick to a stiff solution, as it changes over time with your organization, reflecting current knowledge and best IT practices. You will not only diagnose and fix costly service outages but also reduce service delivery costs, maximize ROI and accelerate time-to-market for new services.
The biggest advantages seen by our customers are:
- Reduced incident volume
- Reduced number of system outages
- Improved vulnerability response
- Increased automation to respond to issues faster
How to implement CMDB
CMDB implementation is not as straightforward as we wish. To make the process smoother for your organization, it is important to prepare the right ground for it. That means some extra work that will pay off when your CMDB is up and running. Investing your time into the following points will help map possible challenges, control the implementation process in the best way possible and ensure that the final result is successful and does not fail to generate value. By identifying the possible issues, like, e.g., lack of people and processes in place to move data into CMDB, you have more power over the CMDB implementation itself.
#1 Ensure compliance in configuration management
Security starts with proper management of your IT infrastructure. That is why it is so important to first identify and understand your compliance obligations, spot the risks of non-compliance and act to reduce the organizational risks. Understanding the relationships between an organization’s information assets and the applications that use them helps meet the audit and compliance needs.
CMDB Compliance is a ServiceNow toolset to certify CMDB data – check their correctness and fix any issues. You can audit the CMDB for its adherence to predefined regulatory requirements, internal governance or certificates.
#2 Apply data centre consolidation & improve security
When you have multiple data centres, your costs are higher, you become more vulnerable and prone to security breaches. Instead of using many servers, storage systems, and networking systems, it is better to have one data centre. Centralization reduces digital footprint, making the organization at the same time less vulnerable to cyber-attacks or risks related to data loss and downtime. It is not only going to reduce management overheads but also costs for your organization.
You want to reduce and limit the impact of a potential threat against data. Once you have your asset inventory and CMDB in place, you should set up good practices. You could, e.g., allow deep network scanning to ensure only allowed devices are connected. Your database and inventory lists should be up-to-date, establishing a good baseline for all the IT activity. Staying on top of patches and updates for all the assets could lead to more accurate inventory and, consequently, improved security.
#3 Implement enterprise change management
Enterprise change management is the constant process by which your organization implements and manages changes to maximize change capability. It is all about centralizing the organizational change process, and among its effect, you will find increased ROI, improved business agility or increased effectiveness.
Change managers can use the CMDB to spot the relationship between different configuration elements that can be affected by a change in the future. Thanks to understanding the relationship between the components, assets can be reconstructed at any time. You can map physical, virtual, and cloud components using asset management and design services.
You also need impact analysis to get information about the system areas affected due to the change in the particular section or application features. The impact analysis engine goes through CMDB, and located Configuration Items (CIs) expected to have outages.
#4 Ensure transparency and visibility for innovation
Lack of visibility into service performance causes headaches to many organizations. It equals erratic assumptions, reactive decisions and speculative contexts. That makes introducing innovation a very difficult task. In a perfect world, CMDB should be thought-out and planned. It is not just limited to the selection and implementation of discovery technology to populate your CMDB.
Knowing where you are and what your shortcomings might be is essential for transparency. When you address governance, configuration management data and technology plan and define methods for populating and maintaining health, there is a big chance for successful visibility for innovation.
CMDB – make it successful
The above list might seem overwhelming, but by applying each step at the beginning of the CMDB implementation process, you will be able to improve the capability to diagnose service issues, detect root cause problems and find a resolution quickly.
CMDB has great business value. If applied properly, you can model your services and digital products, react in real-time, manage the life cycle of your services, keep the ServiceNow instance healthy, accelerate time-to-market and last but not least, improve processes effectiveness.
Implementing CMDB is a more complex topic; therefore, we encourage you to get some extra help to address the problems and ensure success. Contact us if you want to take advantage of our vast experience and best practices in implementing CMDB in ServiceNow.