Prepare your CMDB implementation in 3 easy steps

This blog was originally published by Fruition Partners. Since then, Fruition Partners has become the ServiceNow practice within DXC Technology.

The implementation of a CMDB is a long process and it’s not easy. Many organisation struggle and for various reasons. Often, from my experience, it’s due to a poor ITSM strategy thus jumping too quickly to the implementation with poor acceptance and understanding of major SMEs. Or due to a poor design or understanding of organisation’s scope of services. We don’t know what we deliver but we need a CMDB.

It is actually quite rare to meet an organisation that says “we have implemented a complete CMDB”. Most of them do have MDR (Managed Data Repositories, such as SCCM) for specific areas. Many of them have integrated some MDRs with ServiceNow. The real value of a CMDB comes when dependencies between CIs are known. A CMDB without CI relationships is more a flat inventory of IT components rather than a CMDB. Few organisations can say for sure which service, and subsequently customers, will be impacted if server n° 84 in a datacenter is shut down.

Finally the CMDB implementation does not stop after the first phase but is/should be continually improved. If you plan to do a big bang in one phase, the risk of a failure will be high. The CMDB touches from close to far to a vast amount of areas of an IT organisation that it is way too difficult to get it right in one phase. The most important aspect of the implementation of a CMDB is to start small but right and grow it on regular basis along with the experience you gather using it.

There are three ingredients to have before the actual implementation can start:

1. You need to know what you deliver to your customer
In an ideal world, this means knowing the list of business services. If not, because it’s not trivial, it’s at least having an inventory of the business applications.

2. You need to know what data sources you may have for the CMDB
It is about having an inventory of all the tools/spreadsheets used across the IT organisations to maintain configuration information. Often, updating the CMDB is perceived as an additional overhead task because the actual work is also done somewhere else.

3. You need to define the scope of the first phase
This last point is dependent on the first two. The maturity of your services coupled with the readiness of the different sources to be migrated/integrated with ServiceNow will define the scope of the phase.

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