CMDB (Configuration Management Database) is a data repository that contains information on the assets—servers, network devices, applications, and more—and services managed by the company. There are various CMDBs in the market, and ServiceNow Configuration Management Database is among the best. It is a single system of record that maintains configuration data related to an IT infrastructure. It enables IT teams to better understand the organization’s IT environment, particularly business service impact analysis, asset management, and compliance.
The goal of CMDBs is to provide information that helps organizations make better business decisions and smoothly run ITSM processes. It allows users to identify dependencies among processes, people, applications, and IT infrastructure. It also allows users to find opportunities for change, ensure faster resolution of incidents and fewer errors, and more.
Figure: Steps to a Well-managed CMDB
There are several instances where organizations have information scattered across various systems, making it difficult for them to extract essential data. They don’t use CMDBs efficiently to control their IT environment. For instance, consider a scenario in an organization where Jessie is a Risk Manager tasked with pulling data for an upcoming audit. She reaches out to her IT department for help.
Gary: Hi Brett, I need a list of all our applications for an upcoming audit.
IT Department: We don't have a comprehensive list of applications across the organization.
Gary: Can you use the CMDB?
IT Department: That data is not accurate.
Gary: What about an Application Portfolio Management system?
IT Department: We are not using that system for long.
Gary: OK, use the enterprise architecture system.
IT Department: Even that system is not correctly set up..
IT Department: No, sorry
Gary: Are there any other options?
IT Department: Maybe excel?
Jessie and her team will now spend days, or even weeks, tracking down information to complete the audit due to the company’s poorly structured IT environment. All this could have been avoided if the organization had a properly configured and maintained CMDB.
Organizations face several challenges while consolidating and maintaining CMDB. Some of them are capturing unknown Configuration Items (CIs), inconsistent data quality, and unclear relationships. Due to these challenges, CMDB projects have a reputation for failed starts, lengthy implementations, and ongoing maintenance issues, often resulting in limited business value and unrewarded effort.
Common Questions Enterprises Ask Before Implementing CMDB
It’s essential to answer these questions beforehand to ensure that CMDBs help meets the organizational goals.
To effectively manage and improve IT service delivery, it's essential to know what is used in the IT environment and its use with current configuration data. A well-implemented and maintained CMDB store information of the enterprise infrastructure, including reliable configuration data for physical and virtual servers, computers, routers, switches, applications, cloud instances, and more. It also serves as the foundation for all the configuration management processes such as Service Management, Asset Management, Operations Management, and others. Understanding the IT environment with ServiceNow CMDB is easy.
A ServiceNow CMDB can improve several ITSM processes such as incident management, change management, and problem management.
Use Case 1: The IT service desk can use CMDB during an incident management process to better understand network users' equipment and software.
Use Case 2: Operations managers can gain visibility into the servers, applications, and network devices on their network, including their relationships.
3 C’s to Calculate ServiceNow CMDB Health?
Completeness: By completeness, we mean that CMDB uses recommended and required metrics.
Are your CMDB CIs populated with necessary data?
Compliance: By compliance, we mean that CMDB uses audit metrics.
Are your CMDB CIs configured as expected and meet desired state expectations?
Correctness: By correctness, we mean that CMDB uses duplicates, orphans, and staleness metrics.
Are your CMDB CIs up-to-date and accurate with minimal to no duplicates?
ServiceNow CMDB allows organizations to manage critical business services easily. To keep CMDB current and healthy with critical service information, organizations must achieve the below-mentioned milestones to embark on a successful configuration management journey.
by Gaurav Mittal, Soumiyan TM