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Expert Tips for Optimising Your CMDB with ServiceNow

04 June 2024

For those working with ServiceNow, understanding the fundamentals of the Common Service Data Model (CSDM) is crucial. The primary goal of the CSDM is to demystify the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) and its components. ServiceNow’s white paper outlines where elements of your Business Services should be placed within the platform, providing a clear roadmap.

But what does this really mean? The CMDB offers accurate and reliable information about your digital services and the supporting infrastructure. To create value from your CMDB, it is essential to leverage this data effectively. We have all experienced it: users report an application issue, helpdesk lines light up, and you are left scrambling to pinpoint the problem. Is it a server issue, a network glitch, or a recent application change? These questions arise even before you start resolving the problem, not to mention the subsequent clean-up of incident records.

Successful CMDB deployment does not happen by chance. It requires a detailed Configuration Management Plan, clear objectives, and a comprehensive strategy. This foundation leads to better management of Business Services, preventing outages, diagnosing issues swiftly, and maintaining infrastructure relationships and service topologies.

ServiceNow identifies six essential steps for a successful CMDB deployment:

  1. Identify Areas of Business Value
  2. Set Your Direction
  3. Build a Team and Governance Model
  4. Design Your Configuration Data Model
  5. Operationalise Configuration Management
  6. Create Ongoing Strategic Alignment

So, let us explore these six steps in more detail.

Step 1: Identify Areas Where Your CMDB Can Deliver Business Value

A CMDB must support both the strategic objectives of the business and the tactical goals of IT. Many organisations struggle with the right balance of configuration management. Too much can be costly and time-consuming, while too little leaves blind spots. Engage with the business to understand their priorities and focus on what matters most.

Step 2: Set Your Direction

Clear goals, actionable objectives, and measurable outcomes are essential. Consider what you want to accomplish, how you will approach it, the business outcomes you aim to support, and how you will measure success. Aligning IT and business strategies helps prioritize goals and supports broader objectives.

Step 3: Build a Team and Governance Model

With objectives set, build a team and implement a governance model. A hybrid model combining central core competencies with domain expertise from distributed teams often provides the best balance, ensuring consistency and clear roles and responsibilities.

Step 4: Design Your Configuration Data Model

Define the data you will keep in the CMDB. Start simply and make incremental improvements. Focus initially on CI classes needed to support Incident and Change Management, such as servers, virtual machines, databases, applications, and network equipment.

Step 5: Operationalise Configuration Management

Keeping the CMDB up to date requires robust processes and ongoing effort. Automate where possible, but ensure manual updates are clearly assigned and managed. Monitor the health of your CMDB and control changes rigorously.

Step 6: Create Ongoing Alignment

Your Configuration Management Plan is a living document that should adapt to business needs. Continuous alignment with business and IT strategies is crucial. Ensure two-way communication and involve configuration managers in critical projects to anticipate and plan for impacts on the CMDB.

At KA2, our seasoned experts are ready to guide you through every step of your CMDB deployment journey. With our deep knowledge and proven track record, we ensure your CMDB is designed and implemented to maximize business value and operational efficiency. Do not let uncertainty hold you back – contact our team today to revolutionise your asset management strategy.

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