November 12, 2008

Please Sir, can I have a CMDB?

Posted in CMDB tagged , , at 3:00 pm by Molly

You only have to ask your fellow IT colleagues about CMDBs (Configuration Management Databases as they are called in ITIL v2) or SACMSs (Service Asset Configuration Management Systems as its ‘new’ ITIL v3 name has been given) to realise that these systems have not been widely or more so SUCCESSFULLY implemented.  Why?  Why can’t experienced IT personnel be they project managers, analysts, architects implement something as ‘simple’ as a CMDB (as we shall call it in this article)?  See, now I have your attention, you are looking to me to provide the ‘simple’ answer.  Infact it is a simple answer and its lurking in the back of your mind right now – SCOPE.  This five letter word means “to master, to extend, range of view, aim or purpose”.

Now when you decide to buy a new HDTV for your living room, do you just pop along to your local electrical store or high street retailer and feast your eyes on the first flat screen HDTV system you see?  I don’t think you do.  I would hope that you take into account the size of the TV system you want or the dimensions you require for your TV/stereo unit at home.  I would hope that you understood all the technical jargon that is printed on the information sheet next to each HDTV system in the shop you are perusing at present.  Do you understand resolution, HDMI inputs, cd/m2, SRS, in picture, out of picture, backlighting, inlighting, is it compatible with my Sony amp, built-in blu ray disc player etc …   it’s not easy to understand all this is it?

Now think of your CMDB.

Every element you add to the scope of the database should be driven by some BUSINESS VALUE you can gain by tracking that element (the CI).  BUSINESS VALUE, yes, the two most over-used and under-used words in the IT environment.  I will presume you are an IT expert or have been in the IT arena for a few years.  Every action you do be it project work or operational work adds value or must add value to the business, because otherwise what is the point in doing it?  Heads of IT services take note – don’t think you are adding value to your business by creating some wonderful database system, KNOW that you are adding value by asking the users if its adding value to them e.g. by reducing operation downtime, performance has increased, processes are streamlined, the operation takes half the time it used to, etc.

There are a few other important points to Configuration Management that you should also be considering along with your BUSINESS VALUE, and they are (in no particular order):-

  • Making good decisions;
  • Process effectiveness;
  • The technical challenges;
  • Data overload;
  • Dynamic environments;
  • Failures in tool integration;
  • The road to maturity;

If like me you’ve worked in project management or have been a business analyst for a while now, you understand that you have to implement a software system or hardware system in stages.  The same should be said about the CMDB, it requires planning, implementation and then handover to the operations staff/dept.  Well the three stages that I work with are:

  • The PLANNING stage;
  • The IMPLEMENTATION stage;
  • The OPERATIONAL stage;

The Planning Stage will be more time consuming, more complex and very brain intensive for you.  Take your time with this stage.  If you rush through this stage you will end up in not only a mess but will have a system that is useless, staff with have no confidence in the data it holds, and ultimately it will fail and you will lose your job (or you should).

In my next blog spot, I shall enlighten you on the DETERMINING YOUR SCOPE, it will certainly be an interesting article to follow nd I hope help you.

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