ServiceNow ITOM eBook Cover

IT Operation Management’s Foundation of Power: The Configuration Management Database [New ITOM eBook]

Well, it’s officially the end of our first week of Acorio’s 2018 12 Days of Giving. From GBS and ServiceNow ITBM eBooks to Planning bundles and ServiceNow HRSD overviews, we’ve covered a lot in just a few days! But we still have 7 more business days to go.

Today we’re releasing our newest eBook: IT Operation Management’s Foundation of Power: The Configuration Management Database.

The root of ServiceNow ITOM (IT Operations Management) is the CMDB (Configuration Management Database), the foundation of the ServiceNow platform. As the underlying database powering everything from Asset Discovery to Agent Intelligence, you can think about the CMDB as the foundation of ServiceNow’s power – or at least one of the foundational elements.  

Despite the importance of a healthy CMDB, we see so many ServiceNow customers have a CMDB that is plagued by issues that prevent it from providing the desired organizational value. This is not a problem that just affects ServiceNow – customers of many different competing platforms have these same obstacles. In fact, Forbes magazine assets that an astonishing 85% of CMDB projects fail.  

At Acorio, we decided we needed to even those odds. Our IT Operations Management practice has spent decades focused on CMDB success, and creating baseline success metrics to ensure that all customers can maximize their CMDB to power change (or, at a minimum, prevent a lot of needless headaches).  

This eBook starts at the beginning, focusing on “Three C’s” central to powering successful CMDB programs: Completeness, Correctness, and Compliance. 

To give you a little preview, let’s talk about the 2nd foundational “C” of the CMDB – Correctness.

CMDB Foundation 2: Correctness 

Once you have determined how much information you need to populate your CMDB, you arrive at our second critical “C” for CMDB success: Correctness. This second step of CMDB analysts begs the question, “How accurate is the data in your CMDB?”  

Correctness is important for one obvious reason: Good data just makes everything better  – it establishes trust with your stakeholders, creates more efficient processes and allows you to conduct a better analysis. As you can imagine, the converse is also true, mistakes in your data, the wrong CI assigned to a Change Request, and a random decimal point here or there can make a huge impact.   

If you agree that accurate data is a critical element to success in your CMBD, you might then wonder how to get there? Creating a correct CMDB mostly requires care and feeding – and the ongoing maintenance of the CMDB.  

Pro CMDB Tip: Don’t underestimate the importance of trust. Maintaining a high level of Correctness and believing your data means your company can leverage more “advanced” ServiceNow solutions, such as automation and Event Management. This will allow the creation of workflows to automate otherwise manual tasks or notifications (some of which can tie back into Incident and Problem, all using your CMDB data)! Selecting the correct CI(s) for these tasks enables a review of the who, what, when, why, where and potentially how of an issue, so that you can identify the impact of a Change, Incident or Problem. …But that can only happen if you have confidence in the original data. Hence, you can start to see how having a correct CMDB can really empower your organization. 

Governing Correctness  

Just like your Completeness parameters, you will need to define what “Correct” means to your company.  

You have already made some good progress by outlining the governance process we reviewed in our first “C” – Completeness. Ensuring your database doesn’t include duplicate CIs, that your Discovery is implemented properly, that new CIs are added correctly and existing CIs are accurately updated are all essential elements of maintaining CMDB Correctness. 

While the data people are entering into your CMDB is extremely important, in many cases, your day-to-day business processes are equally important for ensuring data correctness. To guarantee your process in delivering clean data, establish functionality to audit so that clean data entry processes are being followed, and allow users to identify incorrect data and request changes. 

Correctness in your ServiceNow CMDB

While the CMDB requires constant management, ServiceNow makes it easier than ever to look into your CMDB. By maintaining a high level of Correctness in your CMDB, you are able to take advantage of your data and make it your data work for you – not the other way around. 

Here are some ways to ensure that maintenance happens in ServiceNow:  

  • Leverage the CMDB Health Dashboard: This is a huge bonus over competing solutions because it allows you to customize your Dashboard configuration, and provides actionable visibility into issues that will disrupt the completeness and health of your CMDB.
  • Report, and then Report Some More: Reporting can supplement your CMDB Health Dashboard, as well as identify other data quality issues, such as data normalization opportunities. For example, you might create a report to explore your Hardware inventory, only to discover you have duplicative models listed: HP 6300 Pro and HP Pro 6300,  or Adobe Photoshop CS and Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite. Using reporting, you can identify these anomalies and with data normalization, you can standardize your naming schema and continue on your upward trend of Correctness. 

Learn about the other two “C’s” (Completeness and Compliance) in our new ITOM eBook today.

ServiceNow ITOM Foundation eBook preview