Most modern enterprises try to employ a process for managing assets within their organizations, however, a big issue arises when they attempt to keep tabs on their existing IT configurations. The concept can seem abstract, but the best operations find ways to make it concrete. A common way they often achieve this goal, especially within IT departments, is by using a Configuration Management Database, a system intended to identify concerns and impose order.
Function, Challenges and Benefits of CMDB software
A good CMDB software implementation covers a lot of bases. Foremost, within an IT environment, it needs to allow a firm to keep tabs on every IT asset management the operation has. This entails cataloging an impressive amount of information about each machine currently in use. That function also extends to seeing that specific details about the assets, such as what operating system is in use and what software packages are installed, will be tracked.
The more the software can do for the end users, the simpler the entire process will be. A frontend for a database should allow administrators an easy mechanism for importing existing data. One of the simplest ways to do this is by using a network discovery system that’ll explore all the connected devices on your network to determine what’s present. You should also be able to import existing information about assets (asset management) in CSV format. With all that information in place, it should also note potential duplicates and prompt an administrator for manual action to reconcile the data.
A system will produce a map of the relationships between IT assets solutions, software products, and cataloged items. This will reduce the risk that an essential component might be pulled out of service before a quality replacement has arrived. The level of detail is important since something as basic as knowing that a particular printer is configured for a specific computer in a department will allow you to avoid some of the basic problems that often come along with the change and maintenance processes.
In every case, your software should permit you to create a large range of fields and attach those to your inventory list. This level of detail will encourage more efficient planning and reporting. Ultimately, the system will ensure that possible problems are flagged in a speedy manner. In all instances, a complete audit trail can be produced at all times. This can be especially beneficial in a case of catastrophic disaster when full documentation of what was in place can significantly speed up the recovery process.
As simple as it sounds to plug in a CMDB software and let it do its job, a large number of companies fail at the task. This happens for a slew of reasons, including:
- Internal competition within an organization
- Conflicting or redundant implementations
- Lack of automation and dependency on manual entry
- Minimal or no staff tasked with implementation of a CMDB
- Absence of regularly testing of tools
It’s critical to avoid seeing configuration management as an abstract bit of business terminology. A CMDB is a vital link between end users and those who make decisions about the products they use on a daily basis. Every stakeholder in an organization should be familiar with the change process that’s in place, and they should also know who to turn to, whenever they have concerns. Likewise, all departments within an enterprise should be using the same software and applying the same practice. With a dedicated and uniform approach, rather than a hoarding mentality, a company can turn the way it handles its assets into a strength.
Knowing the stakes is important. It’s not uncommon for operations to start small, using data within a spreadsheet to keep tabs on assets. As those resources grow, the process can quickly become more cumbersome to handle manually. Switching over to a CMDB may call for some manual work initially, but once it’s in place, it will allow you to have a complete picture.
Organizations dependent upon IT systems need to be in a position to manage associated risks. A quality CMDB implementation will display a map and make it apparent where breakage might occur. The initial shock of seeing resources mapped out can often lead to meaningful discussions. Seeing that two systems are duplicating functionality needlessly, for example, may allow an organization to significantly reduce costs. Similarly, a detailed map of IT assets can show where resources are being stretched thin. This ensures that both day-to-day and disaster planning efforts will be managed thoughtfully.
The objective of using CMDB software is to see that an enterprise will have an accurate picture of what its IT assets really are. By adding a high degree of automation, you can also see that you’ll spend more time thinking about solutions and less time hunting down problems. A robust database implementation will enable other processes, such as change, maintenance, and recovery, to be more effectively managed.