Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Immediate value of a CMS - yes it's possible

Configuration Management Systems (CMS) = VALUE... not for most people.

In fact most IT shops I've spoken to over the past 6 months have abandoned their CMDB/CMS strategies. Why?  ‘No immediate value’ has been their biggest complaint.  They are not seeing the benefits of having the relationships of assets. 
The clear distinction, between the organizations that are moving forward with their CMDB and CMS strategies and those who have thrown in the towel, has been the ability to effectively tie in their visual operations to their CMS. 
These successful organizations are leveraging the relationship information to show which apps are running on which pieces of the infrastructure and are providing a view of this relationship to their 1st and 2nd tier support teams.  Empowered with this information they are finding their troubleshooting process of elimination faster and more efficient. 
As any of us in the support arena know, the work to get systems back on line consists of 80% finding the problem and 20% fixing it.  So armed with this visual aid to help root out and verify the components that are working, the practitioner is closer to finding the one that is not.

So here is my advice if you are on the verge of blowing up your CMDB: 
First: Verify that you have the right grouping.  If your CMDB is grouped by technology, then it will not help Tier1 and Tier2 teams, who are  getting complaints about applications. 
Second: Create a visual element for the application and show logical relationships to the systems that support it.  Link those elements to your existing CMDB for more current and accurately collected data.   

It's by no means the Nirvana that ITIL V3 pictures for us, but it will at least allow you to leverage the work that you have done, and to start making the data and information you have more meaningful and relevant.

Check out these tools for a quick start and easy deployment: 
OpenSource - OneCMDB or BizDiag
Commercial  - NI2or MS Viso

Of course, BSM tools can be leveraged, but they are not going to be quick and easy to deploy.

Special Note: I am doing a weekly Internet Radio show called "ITSM Weekly" with Chris Dancy (ServiceSphere) and Matt Beran (Service Desk Manager).  Please check it out. Would love to hear your feedback.

ITSM Weekly The Podcast Week 1 from ServiceSphere on Vimeo.

Next BLOG - Is ITIL losing its steam?  Seems like the process framework is losing ground in the US; what does that mean?  What will replace it? 

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