A CMDB is a database of Configuration Management Data, which is pertinent information about possible connections between information technology systems and the interrelationships between these components. This extends beyond IT to offer a “single source of truth” to visualize the data to provide meaningful business value. Each component in a CMDB is knows as a CI (Configuration Item) which can be anything from hardware, software, notes, config files, users, etc.
Now that we know what a CMDB is, what business value can it provide? At the end of the day, the sole purpose of a CMDB is to provide value to the business, streamlining departments workflows and help ensure various departments can work closer together while providing better customer service. This can only occur when the CMDB is both accurate (updated and in-depth) and actionable (business related view between CI’s).
Whatever business services you provide to your customers’ needs to pass through multiple departments of your organization. It starts with the teams that take orders, to procurement and legal and finally delivering your service all while you are keeping the customer notified during the process. Think of Amazon! The internal system (web order site) needs to be running well. A customers places an order, then the order gets filled by people on the floor. The employees need access to the inventory status (in/out of stock), where it is on the floor, and then know which department to send the order for future processing. The next department is in charge of packaging and shipping the product “services” and sending it (overnight or next day etc.)in whatever method the customer chose. Amazon works well because “all” information is easily accessible and shared between departments, while keeping the customer notified. This is what the CMDB should be able to provide your company internally.
- A CMDB should be the “source of truth”taking information from multiple sources (frequently and automated) to ensure it contains the most up to date and relevant information.
- A CMDB will not be up-to-date 100% of the time, however, it does have to be good enough to meet your organizations requirements to do business. Being 100% is not realistic, but defining “good enough” provides business value for your organization and is a good start.
- CMDB is not a onetime load, if so, it becomes static and quickly loses it’s value in all workflows. However (not above) it can be automated with realistic data imports that will not stress the management of the system.
- Modern CMDB can provide most of the heavy lifting and provide ROI quickly, ServiceNow does this well.
The information in the CMDB needs to be related to provide business value to the organization. In our Amazon example, having inventory of parts does no good if the person on the floor or the website/sales person does not share this information. Knowing at any given time the status of “things” that is shared between departments is what gives value to the business.
Common CMDB challenges
- Gathering the REQUIRED data, not just data
- Only relevant data should be added, not all data. Experienced personnel with CMDB design and functionality is important from the start. They help create proper relationships.
- Making data Business relevant
- ServiceNow has multiple modules to leverage and pivot on data for business views
- Automation workflows can leverage authorized CI’s for streamline orchestration
- Leveraging no code studio to make useful applications/views of this data
- Keeping the CMDB up to date
1. In larger complex enterprises data can change quickly
2. Processing and gathering disperse and disparate data can be a challenge
3. Maintaining relationships on data is a big challenge
Champion’s ebridge offering was created to turbo charge the CMDB (one of its features) by linking enterprise applications, found in all modern enterprises, into the ServiceNow CMDB. It keeps the CMDB from becoming stale and delivers rich data sets that already exist in the environment. In addition, it is providing business relationships between the discovered data. As data passes over the various connections (integration/|girders) it is normalized for relationship matching. This is a real game changer, which can be implemented in days, not months, or years.