An accurate and functioning Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is one of the most important components for a successful IT Service Management (ITSM) implementation. In fact, as more and more organizations are moving towards enterprise service management (ESM) CMDB’s role is becoming even more critical. Yet many organizations tend to overlook its importance. In this blog we will discuss why is CMDB so important for ITSM implementation success but before diving into that let’s first understand what is CMDB.
What is CMDB?
CMDB in most simplistic terms is a database that contains information about an organization’s IT assets (Commonly known as configuration items (CI), which could of different types: Hardware, Virtual and/or Software) with their relationships (dependencies). Let’s take an example – In a typical organization IT provides services and applications to their end users e.g. Email as a service. In order to support these services and applications common practice is to store details about them in a single repository i.e. CMDB. Information such as app name, app business criticality, support team vs ownership team is stored in CMDB and which IT teams use to resolve issues in a quick manner. In addition CMDB is also commonly used to store relationships between CIs e.g. Which services are dependent on which apps, which databases are being used by an app etc. This information helps IT understand the dependency between infrastructure elements. You must be asking why do we need all this information and how will it help ITSM processes and platform implementation? Well without further ado lets look at importance of CMDB.
Why is CMDB important for ITSM success?
Although there are so many reasons for why CMDB is so important for ITSM success but lets focus on Top 5:
- Faster Incident Resolution: You must have heard or encountered the situation where IT tickets getting routed from one team to the other, not only it creates frustration to the users but also increases incident resolution time and IT cost. CMDB can help avoid this by providing information such as CI support group, which can be leveraged by ITSM platform to auto-route tickets to the correct support team. In addition, IT teams can use CMDB CI and relationship information to pinpoint which IT component is causing an incident.
- Mitigate Risks Associated with IT changes: How often we have seen changes done by IT/Other teams lead to outages. Using CMDB information teams can mitigate those risks associated with an IT change e.g. if a server team is planning to perform a change that involves patching a server, IT can evaluate which applications will be impacted by using CMDB specially its relationship information, in case if that server will be shut down due to patching. CMDB also helps change management with change collision detection and change approval routing to appropriate approvers.
- Facilitates Problem Investigation: Problem management team can conduct faster root cause analysis and problem resolution leveraging information such as CI relationships and changes associated to a CI. IT teams can also leverage problem statistics associated with CIs to identify problematic IT infrastructure assets, find best opportunities to replace those assets and use failure statistics to improve quality and vendor negotiation/discount.
- Central Repository Facilitates IT decision making: CMDB contains organization’s IT assets and its relationships information in a central database that can be leveraged by IT for IT budgeting, planning, demand and forecasting, IT initiatives (such as cloud migration, SDDC, application rationalization, Hardware or Software refresh). Specially following information is key for IT decision making:
- # and Type of IT infrastructure (HW, SW, Virtual etc.) used
- Different technologies used (Windows, Unix, AS400, Linux etc.)
- Lifecycle information: End of life or End of Support
- Types of applications in environment: COTS, custom etc.
- Enhance IT Security, Compliance and other ESM processes: Apart from helping ITSM processes, CMDB stores information which can be leveraged by other Non-IT business units to perform their activities. IT security and compliance teams can use CMDB information (Such as HW/SW version, OS, patch information) to assess the risks associated with known vulnerabilities associated with IT infrastructure and appropriately define and execute risk mitigation plans. In addition, information in CMDB can help HR teams specially during employee onboarding and offboarding processes.
Hope this blog is helpful in understanding the CMDB importance and teams can work collectively to maintain an accurate and complete CMDB. Collectively working towards maintaining CMDB? Common understanding is that CMDB is the responsibility of only one team which is the CMDB team . Well lets keep that discussion for our future topic. Don’t forget to check our next blog as we continue CMDB blog series.
ANB Technologies specialize in ITSM, ITAM, CMDB, and HR Service Management processes. If you have any questions related to that you can reach to us at email@example.com.