Achieve High-Performing Business Services with ServiceNow CMDB
Written by Harini Krishnamurthy
Lead Content Writer
May 25, 2023
Plan your successful CMDB Deployment
Many IT organizations are challenged by a lack of visibility into service performance—whether delivery or support—across their organization. That absence of visibility often leads to erroneous assumptions and reactive decisions based on emotional intensity and experience related to a speculative context. These reactive decisions commonly lead to a never-ending fire-fighting cycle compounded by limited transparency and contextual reference, making it challenging to deliver new, innovative solutions to the business.
Behind all successful Configuration Management Database (CMDB) deployments is a complete configuration management plan for implementing, designing, and supporting a configuration management capability. And when you take the time to build a configuration management plan, the result is superior business service performance. Therefore, the health of your CMDB—having accurate, current, complete data—is critical to delivering value with ServiceNow. In this blog, we will discuss how to maintain a healthy CMDB and take steps to improve its health when needed.
Industry research shows that only 25% of organizations get the full value from their CMDB investment. A healthy CMDB doesn’t just happen—it requires intentional plans, processes, and maintenance.
Read our blog to learn more about CI attestation on the ServiceNow CMDB platform
Impact of an Unhealthy CMDB
An unhealthy CMDB can be detrimental to your organization. Let’s look at a common scenario: a service outage. An application isn’t responding, and hundreds of users are affected. How do you figure out what’s wrong and get the service back up and running quickly? Has someone upgraded the application recently? Is it the server, or is there a problem with a database halfway around the world? Is there a network problem? So many possibilities and so little time. Without a CMDB, you don’t know the application version, which server it’s running on, or which databases it’s talking to. You spend hours gathering information—assuming you can find it.
Why is it Important to Maintain a Healthy CMDB?
CMDB is a key component in the success of the Now Platform and a valuable decision support tool for IT Service Management and many other enterprise processes. With so much of the modern enterprise powered by IT, digital infrastructure and service visibility is crucial. With an accurate, up-to-date view of your IT environment, you fix service issues quicker, reduce operational and security risks, lower costs, improve agility, and make informed business and technical decisions. Unfortunately, though, this visibility is an elusive and constantly moving target. IT faces a proliferation of software, virtualized infrastructure, cloud services, containers, and mobile devices, and change is now measured in minutes. Consolidating, correlating, and maintaining complex, rapidly evolving data from multiple data sources is an enormous challenge, particularly when dealing with unknown IT components, inconsistent data quality, and ill-defined relationships between components. That’s why configuration management database (CMDB) projects are known for misstarts, lengthy implementations, and ongoing maintenance challenges. Instead of creating a trusted repository for configuration item (CI) data, CMDB initiatives often result in limited business value and unrewarded effort.
Benefits of a Healthy CMDB
A healthy CMDB, on the other hand, helps you to:
- Prevent business service outages, especially those caused by unplanned changes and misconfiguration
- Diagnose and fix costly service outages faster with instant access to information such as infrastructure relationships, service topologies, change histories, and software versions
- Reduce service delivery costs
- Maximize the ROI of your application portfolio
- Accelerate time-to-market for new services
A healthy CMDB doesn’t just happen. Every successful CMDB deployment needs a detailed Configuration Management Plan. You lay the foundation for better business service health by clearly identifying your objectives and developing a comprehensive strategy for attaining and sustaining these capabilities.
Six Steps to a Healthy CMDB
Here are six key steps to a successful CMDB deployment. These steps aren’t necessarily linear—you’ll want to optimize your approach to meet your organization’s unique needs. However, it would be best if you addressed all of these to maximize the benefits of your CMDB.
- Step 1: Identify areas where your CMDB can deliver business value
- Step 2: Set your direction
- Step 3: Build a team and a governance model
- Step 4: Design your configuration data model
- Step 5: Operationalize configuration management
- Step 6: Create ongoing alignment
Follow these steps, and you’ll dramatically improve service health. Want to achieve a successful ServiceNow CMDB implementation? Watch our video. You’ll also be able to:
- Understand the organizational value of each of your business services
- Know who uses your business services and predict future consumption
- Identify where to invest and where to scale back
- Track your service delivery costs and find out how to optimize them
- Reduce technical debt and risk by seeing which technologies underpin your services
Your business depends on you to deliver high-quality business services. To do this, you need a healthy CMDB supported by good configuration management processes. With a healthy CMDB, you can:
- Prevent business service outages
- Identify and respond to service outages more quickly
- Diagnose and fix service outages faster
Achieving and maintaining a healthy CMDB isn’t magic. But follow the six steps in this blog, and you’ll lay the foundation for a successful ServiceNow CMDB deployment. And you’ll enjoy the payoff: dramatically better business service health.