Home �   ITIL�  Index

The Wheel Evolved -- So Too Must Your CMDB/CMS - Part II

You can move forward even if you don't want a complete CMDB/CMS, writes ITSMWatch guest columnist Carlos Casanova of K2 Solutions Group.
Oct 1, 2010

Carlos Casanova

Once you have identified what foundational data sources you have available to work with, you should put together a separate initiative that targets their clean up and consolidating; retiring duplicate or no longer necessary sources. Even if you don’t move forward with a comprehensive configuration management effort, this data cleanup and deduplication initiative will be tremendously beneficial especially when you do start to move forward with a CMDB/CMS later on.

I suggest doing it as a separate initiative to make sure people do not confuse it with the actual configuration management process effort.

Understanding how efficient and useful your solution is key to improving it. In the case of wheels/tires, the manufacturers spend millions of dollars researching performance and failures in their products. In configuration management, this is done through Status Accounting and Verification & Audit. These are critical process components because they provide direct feedback used to mature the solution.

If you started out with spreadsheets and pads of paper as mentioned in the first article, a point will likely come when you can no longer keep pace manually with all the changes occurring in your operational environment. This may force you to seek a more sophisticated enterprise solution.

The important thing to remember is that the original decision to use spreadsheets and pads of paper was sufficient until the problem it was addressing grew beyond its capabilities. Once the problem changes or grows, you will need to find a new solution or adapt your existing one to meet the new challenge.

You cannot head into a CMDB/CMS initiative with the sole focus of just “building a CMDB/CMS”. If you do, you are very likely to over-design, over-build and over-spend. But worse yet, you will probably not address the challenges that your operations and IT personnel are trying to overcome and hence deliver little or no value regardless of what you spend. You must focus on the problem at hand then design for the future state.

After doing that you should to take a few steps back from the design so that you can objectively decide on what is needed in the short term to meets the current challenges. Your vision and direction will be set in your future state design but you must stay focused on delivering incremental value with your solutions.

Most operational areas are trying to address their respective challenges alone and without the benefit of a centralized configuration management effort. Utilizing your future state CMS design, you can target your incremental value packages to help solve the immediate needs of these operational areas. Revisit your design regularly to ensure you are on track with it and then find your next opportunity to deliver value. After a few of these successes you will find that you have matured your small targeted implementations into what will become a sophisticated enterprise solution.

No one could have foreseen that a plank being pulled over a log in 8,000 B.C would evolve into today’s sophisticated tires and wheels but if you design your CMS properly and deliver value on a regular basis through small targeted solutions, you will see an enterprise CMS solution during your lifetime.

Carlos Casanova is the president and solutions architect for K2 Solutions Group and the co-author of The CMDB Imperative: How to realize the dream and avoid the nightmares. Mr. Casanova delivers executive and practitioner level professional services, training and technology solutions that support the delivery of IT service management and knowledge management initiatives. He is widely published, an editor and writer for the itSMF USA Newsletter, treasurer for the itSMF New England LIG and president of the itSMF USA Sustainable 360 SIG. Prior to K2 Solutions, Mr. Casanova was a senior enterprise architect with MetLife where he was the visionary and manager for the first CMDB deployment and subsequently helped design its second generation, enterprise-wide ITSM platform.

CMS, CMDB, ITSM, Casanova