If we can agree that Configuration Management is at the core of the service-centric IT universe, then why aren’t more companies jumping at the opportunity to implement the solutions required to properly facilitate it? While most companies profess to have a configuration management group or practice, many shy away from implementing Configuration Management Databases (CMDB’s), the processes or the automated discovery components required to make Configuration Management (CM) a valuable IT capability.
Part of the problem lies in the understanding of the true value that configuration management can provide. I have spoken with many senior managers who identify common pain points such as:
- “High risk changes are still causing me major issues”
- “When we have infrastructure outages we don’t know what critical business services are impacted”
- “When asked to cut costs, we don’t even really know what we have out there”
When I explain how a CMDB and discovery could help solve all of these issues I’m surprised by the number of managers who don’t realize this or don’t think about CM in this context. Adding configuration management to existing tools and processes is the missing link that many organizations could greatly benefit from.
Some would say that effective discovery is a pipe dream and will never return the value to warrant the effort of implementing it. I strongly disagree! CM tools are not as difficult to implement as some would suggest and many of the horror stories out there are due to overly lofty goals and unrealistic expectations. Start with a target group of applications, prove the value and then grow it from there. Most customers where we have implemented CM tools have seen tremendous value just from having their top 20 most critical services discovered and modeled. The results are usually so transformational that adding additional applications then becomes a top priority.
There are also companies who just always seem to have a more important IT initiative that pushes CM to the backburner. Surprisingly, many of these initiatives revolve around improving IT services, SLA’s and service assurance. Without configuration management, what are we basing these decisions on? Granted, much of the data we need to drive better SLA’s and service assurance comes from monitoring and reporting tools, but without defined services what data are we looking at? How do we know which infrastructure elements are impacting service delivery? How do we know how change is impacting service delivery? What are we basing capacity planning decisions on?
I firmly believe that CM should be one of your top priorities as it is the key to transforming your IT organization into a world class operation. Without CM, no matter how strong your processes or tools are, you will never have the visibility you need to truly understand your IT landscape.
I challenge you to prove me wrong!