Five ways to justify a CMDB implementation: Expert podcast

A CMDB is essential to any large enterprise's IT Service Management plan. Here are five tried and true justifications for deploying a CMDB.

Learn five tried and true justifications for a configuration management database (CMDB) implementation in this podcast, based on David Femia's "Insider View" column on CMDB justifications.

SPEAKER: Joyce Chutchian, on behalf of David Femia, Stratus Technologies

BIOGRAPHY: Femia has worked in the IT industry for more than 20 years. He currently works at Stratus Technologies in Maynard, Mass., where he has implemented CMDB and IT Service Management. Check out his latest "Insider view" tip, "CMDB justification: A strategic plan."


Read the full transcript from this podcast below: 

Joyce Chutchian: Hello, and welcome to a SearchCIO.com podcast. My name is Joyce Chutchian, editor of SearchCIO.com.

Today's podcast is on justifying the cost of a Configuration Management Database, or CMDB.

This podcast is excerpted from a SearchCIO.com column written by contributor David Femia. David is an IT consultant who has been working in IT for more than 20 years and has many years of experience planning and implementing CMDB and ITIL.

If you are a CIO of a large enterprise, you already recognize the underlying complexity of integration, deployment and adoption of a CMDB project, but without a core CMDB capability, change and growth of your IT service portfolio can't be planned, budgeted and managed.

While a CMDB is central to most IT management processes, David Femia says that what really matters is how it is deployed. Assuming you have a scope for your project, and a plan for expanding coverage, the following list offers justifications for implementing CMDB.

  1. Cost savings.Proper use of your CMDB will reduce service deployment and maintenance efforts. The ability to deploy new services more quickly and achieve increased efficiency in maintaining new and existing services will allow for more value-focused work by the IT staff. This includes new business-critical application service deployment while existing systems are still in place.
  2. Incident reduction and improved quality of service. Your CMDB will give you a way to better track the causes of incidents at the configuration level, where a majority of incidents occur, and, with known error and change management processes, it can help reduce service interruption.
  3. Reduced complexity. As a core element of an ITSM capability, a master CMDB capability with consistent management processes will reduce configuration errors in production environments. This is true whether the master CMDB capability is in one IT management application, or coordinated across several apps.
  4. Regulatory compliance. Most regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability acts, in essence, require evidence of consistent control of environments that affect consumers. The CMDB is a repository for historical, as-is and to-be configuration that is necessary to demonstrate such control.
  5. Business risks:Compliance, or lack thereof, is a serious business risk, but so is disruption of business-critical service. The scale of risk is relative.

For example, a collaboration application or information repository in a service business can be disrupted, regardless of the industry, such as financial, healthcare or other. This can grind productivity to a halt and negatively influence customer satisfaction.

A CMDB plays a part in preventing such occurrences, whether in the deployment of new services, patching or upgrading existing ones, or in service recovery when disruption or disaster strikes.

David Femia offers this simple advice: For all of the justifications you note, be sure to provide two or three examples of problems that have occurred, or that could occur. List the constraints that can occur and how the CMDB can address them. Finally, use reasonable -- but not overly conservative -- estimates to balance the expense of deploying the CMDB.

For more information on justifying a CMDB, check out David Femia's IT Business Strategies column on SearchCIO.com for more details.

Thanks for listening, and have a great day.

This was first published in February 2008

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