A configuration management database (CMDB) can put every detail of your IT organization at your fingertips. A CMDBs ability to simultaneously showcase all of your configuration items and show you how they relate to one another makes the tool an invaluable asset. In a broad sense, this functionality can inform your change decisions, make it easier to plan out hardware life cycles and streamline everyday maintenance and management.
The issue for most organizations, however, is simple - a CMDB is a large and complex database that needs a certain level of experience and expertise to fully harness all of its inherent benefits. Leading ITSM solutions are making CMDBs more accessible all the time, but investing in such a solution is still a major commitment that requires time and resources to master. Even with the amount of possible resources required, it is a commitment worth exploring because an effective CMDB implementation can fuel innovation. Four of the most important ways a CMDB can transform your IT organization are:
1. Minimizing Risk
IT teams need to operate quicker and become more responsive to business requirements. This can prove tricky as technologies are also getting more complex and demanding, forcing IT workers to take on significant risk if they are unable to adequately schedule, plan and coordinate operations. A CMDB gives you the transparency required to streamline all of these operations and keep up with operational requirements without creating more risk.
A well-populated CMDB enables you to effectively simulate a change within the CMDB by adjusting the configuration in the database and seeing what happens. Because the CMDB tracks relationships between configuration items, the change will show you all of the systems that will be impacted by your proposed action. This helps you avoid any unintended consequences associated with changes, enabling your workers accelerate operations without increasing risk.
2. Streamlining Manager Interactions
Many businesses are trying to get more reactive about change operations. The theory is that the implications of a mistake or unintended consequence from a minor change are insubstantial enough that companies are better off taking the risk while accelerating their processes. This type of change process can be extremely valuable as organizations face new IT challenges, but there will still be many changes that require additional diligence.
A CMDB provides approval management functionality that ensures that key tasks aren't completed without approval, but focuses on giving managers the information they need to make decisions quickly. Streamlining these interactions can prove essential as companies work to establish lean IT organizations.
3. Deal With Consumer Devices
Employee-owned smartphones and tablets can be nightmarish to deal with if IT teams are unaware of how those devices are interacting with company IT systems. Consumer devices create a unique challenge for IT - take too much control and users get frustrated, but failure to understand how personal devices interact with IT infrastructures can create considerable strategic and stability risk. A CMDB lets IT teams walk the fine line between trying to micro-manage end users and creating an IT Wild West in the organization.
Registering personal devices within the CMDB will show you how those devices depend on your network, how data moves out to those solutions, and which apps (and thus which servers) are interacting with personal devices. All of these insights can give you the information you need to ensure that any moves, additions, or changes that you make won't have an adverse impact on mobile device users. You can also use this information to add a layer of intelligence to data protection measures and ensure you are protecting the right parts of the network to safeguard mobile data workflows.
4. Maximize the Value of Hardware
Virtualization, cloud computing, and similar technologies may make hardware less important from a day-to-day management perspective. However, hardware still plays a critical role in supporting your operations and the costs of new equipment make maximizing the value of each machine within your configuration incredibly important. Seemingly small issues like expired warranties, dealing with legacy solutions, or using hardware that doesn't meet performance requirements can have a huge impact on bottom line costs.
Tracking each configuration item in your IT system makes it easier to identify when hardware is becoming problematic. For example, a good CMDB will make it really easy to identify if you are becoming overly dependent on a legacy system and need to add a layer of redundancy to avoid risk. The right information can be invaluable in making the most of your hardware, and a CMDB makes that possible.
IT success hinges on having a clear understanding of everything that is happening within your configuration. A CMDB provides flexibility, transparency, and risk management you need to tackle new challenges and adjust your IT strategies effectively. Knowing how your IT organization functions is key to transforming operations, and a CMDB makes that possible.