Digital Transformation may not be a new practice in IT Services, however with the digitization of products and services it’s moved from the back room to front and center.
Whether we’re creating or managing on the fly with microservices, serverless compute, or containerization and APIs, digital rules everything around us. From IT operations, service delivery and asset management to even the fundamental makeup of our company’s core products and services, it’s all gone—or going—to the cloud. With this comes a need to juggle legacy systems while transforming to what’s possible, and an even greater need for real-time visibility for monitoring security, compliance, software and hardware, end of life and compliance risks critical to infrastructure to keep today’s modern enterprise up and running—with all the added complexity that necessary change brings.
Successful transformation begins with a solid digital foundation. And while the nature of IT transformation is complex, the starting point for embracing the digital revolution has lived right at the center of our world all along; the Configuration Management Database, CMDB.
Today the value of the CMDB to the business is our golden ticket
The CMDB has a long history of being deprioritized as just another IT tool. Considered a repository for all infrastructure, software, applications, and assets, the CMDB isn’t usually the first thing businesses think of as one of their most critical systems. But with true transformation comes the need for innovative problem solving and fresh perspectives, including our perceptions on the role and value of our CMDB. With data as one of our most precious, utilitarian and valuable business assets as connected internal and customer experiences become the standard, our CMDB is more than our warehouse—it’s our golden ticket.
How do we make the switch and prioritize our CMDB as an integral part of our IT operations and asset management motions?
It all starts with making sure we are populating the CMDB with the data that brings true business value, and not as a catch all for quantity versus quality. Use these best data management practices for moving your CMDB up the organizational priority, drive true change management so your key stakeholders understand the worth of data, connected resources and teams, governance, compliance, and security benefits it brings, and drive education on why it’s just as important to your business as your financial systems of record.
Make Value the cornerstone of your CMDB prioritization
Let’s face it: populating a CMDB with data or Configuration Items (CIs) and relationships has no real value in and of itself. The true value comes from the processes it supports or the decisions that can be made from it. In order to make your CMDB a powerhouse in your IT infrastructure, you need to understand what value you want to drive out of the CMDB so you can chart the course for your specific journey.
Initiatives prime for CMDB prioritization:
Reducing management overhead and costs with Data Center Consolidation and/or Cloud Migration
Increasing efficiency and reducing integration friction in M&A
Reduce risk to the business by mitigating Security Vulnerability
Protecting your organization from self-inflicted issues and outages by implementing Enterprise Change Management and Impact Analysis
Help drive and support overall Application Rationalization and IT Transformation by giving visibility into innovation decisions
Don’t overcomplicate things: choose an entry point initiative with the most potential business value and start from there. Once you’ve set your North Star, it’s time to drill down to the details to assess your IT health and increase your CMDB business value to support your journey – like a pro.
Pro Tip: Harness the Common Services Data Model (CSDM)
In order to unify our organizational priorities and rally around the CMDB, we need to align on a common set of values, language and standards. A singular approach, common vocabulary and systems will allow you to enable service reporting, avoid duplication of tables and data, and remove upgrade obstacles that can derail your journey to IT transformation.
That’s where having a Common Services Data Model (CSDM) makes all the difference. The CSDM is a recommended set of standard service definitions across the ServiceNow platform and products that enables true service level reporting, as well as enabling and supporting multiple configuration strategies. And with business complexity rising as digital experience expands, having a common services data model is no longer just a “nice to have” … it’s table stakes for competing today.
Ask yourself and your internal collaborators these questions to determine your need for a CSDM:
Do you have a standard way to talk about your digital services?
Do you have real-time visibility into what IT resources your digital services are dependent on?
Do you have insights into where to immediately focus to solve problems when services slow down and become unresponsive?
If you didn’t answer yes to all of the above, it’s integral to make CSDM a part of your model toolkit to ensure you have full visibility and alignment in data value, utilization, hygiene, compliance, governance, risk and security. Think of it as establishing your base so you can tackle greater challenges with confidence.
Now that your CSDM is in place, you can move on to managing your digital services in a real-time way that ensures you can make planned changes without impacting your business, address incidents resulting from an unplanned change, all while your employees and customers are blissfully unaware that any of it occurred in the first place.