Planning A CMDB In A Bimodal Environment

PlanThere is a growing desire by IT managers to help their technical teams be more proactive, deliver better services to the user, and reduce costs. With improved service delivery in mind, many IT departments initiated and completed successful ITIL projects, gained benefits for the organisations in the form of improved Incident and Change Management processes.

Introduction

A configuration management database (CMDB) contains all relevant information about elements of the information system and the relationship between those elements. The CMDB provides business with a clear view of their data, and a means to examine the data.

Components of the information system are referred to as configuration items (CIs). A CI is defined as any conceivable IT component, including hardware, software, and documentation. Configuration management seeks to specify, track and control configuration items and any changes made to them in a comprehensive
and systematic fashion. (Rouse, 2015)

The Bimodal Environment

In the bimodal environment, management of the CMDB is potentially more involved. The CMDB Administrator must now keep track of two separate, yet coherent Modes of IT delivery. In Mode 1, processes and changes are very controlled, while more flexibility and dynamic change are encouraged in Mode 2. Managing a CMDB in this fashion needs to be done with care to prevent confusion amongst the administrators. For a definition of Bimodal IT, refer to the article from Onsoft, “What is Bimodal IT Operations”.(Danvers, 2016).

What is the Role of The CMDB

The CMDB forms the main component of the business drive to create a proactive approach to IT service management. The CMDB is the module required to drive down
incidents and proactively prevent service interruptions. The main feature of the CMDB are:

Unify the Bimodal Environment
IT teams operating in both Mode 1 and Mode 2 environments in the organisation make use of a single CMDB, providing a central resource for all information on IT equipment and the provisioning of the equipment. This assists teams from both Modes to collaborate effectively.

Improve Incident Management
By linking to an excellent event management tool, a reduction in calls can be achieved at the service desk.

Minimise Unauthorised Changes
Failed or unauthorised changes account for between 60 – 80% of all incidents captured by the service desk staff. With the right company culture in place, the CMDB can facilitate Change Management practices, resulting in a reduction of incidents.

Transform Problem Management
The CMDB can be used to analyse problem root causes proactively and prevent future problems. With a database of known errors, future events can be drastically reduced and further service interruptions eliminated.

Enhance User Response
Improving the speed and accuracy to complete user requests is one of the key considerations to alleviate pressure off the IT department. Linking the CMDB and the Service Catalogue will significantly improve service delivery while ensuring that information is always up to date.

Planning For a CMDB

The introduction of an organisational CMDB is often driven by business pressure and the positive effect the CMDB can have on service delivery. The following points must be considered to implement a CMDB technology successfully in the organisation.

Process First
A common error made by IT teams is that they implement the technology before defining the Service Asset and Configuration Management (SACM) processes supporting the CMDB. First, identify the processes that govern the CMDB, to prevent it from being stuck in a reactive and chaotic state, making it tough to manage.

Without adequate change procedures in place, the CMDB data will become outdated due to unauthorised changes taking place. It is critical to define the correct Change and SACM processes before implementing the CMDB technology.

Educate People
Ensure that your staff understand the importance of the change process, and the establishment of the culture to support the process. Discovery Tools make it possible to track who made any unauthorised change, and what item was modified. Information from the Discovery Tool can be used to correct all changes that were not authorised. By educating staff in the value of an accurate CMDB, the organisation will drastically reduce the number of changes that were not authorised and limit downtime to the business.

Effective Technology
After ensuring that the people and process elements are considered and carefully planned, organisations need to make sure that the right CMDB technology is adopted. In the case of a small business, a very basic database may suffice. However, most organisations will require a fully functional, integrated technology to maximise the investment in ITIL processes and meet government mandates for the CMDB.

Investing in the right skill-set for the IT delivery team is essential. Organisations that do not invest in this skill-set risk failing with their CMDB implementation.

Include Partners
It teams seldom deliver end user services in isolation. The IT team must ensure that all parties involved in IT delivery use the CMDB. Integration of the Service Catalogue with the CMDB provides that everyone on the IT delivery team be aware of proposed changes, in case an update causes a problem.

Conclusion

More organisations are adopting a CMDB technology because of its role in embedding ITIL Best Practices. The underpinning of ISO/IEC 2000 compliance is a driving force for more organisations to implement a CMDB. IT teams that successfully implement the organisations CMDB provide a high ROI and facilitate real
business transformation.

The CMDB supports efficient IT operations and this enables organisations to reduce work-related stress time-off which is endemic in IT teams. The reduction of time-off supports business expansion without hiring additional staff.

References

Danvers, R 2016. Available: What Is Bimodal It Operations

Rouse, M 2015. Available: Configuration Management Database (CMDB)

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