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CMDB Best Practices: How companies can get it right

CMDB Best Practices

This article addresses how you can apply best practices for your CMDB such that you get it right the first time. 

Unfortunately, the CMDB is a good concept that’s fallen victim to systems integration flaws. 

  • There is not enough information to support it
  • There are time and budget pressures, and 
  • There is a lack of clear vision for what the future for IT management holds. 

But this doesn’t mean that the CMDB doesn’t work. 

The good news is that you don’t have to start from scratch. There’s plenty of research on what makes a CMDB good or bad and how you can use it to improve your IT organization. 

Here’s what we’ve learned so far on CMDB best practices:

Establish ownership of the CMDB

Once you have established a CMDB, you will need to ensure that ownership of the data is respected. This can be done by establishing a clear hierarchy of who has authority over the data in your CMDB and what they can do with it. The person or group responsible for maintaining and updating the CMDB should also be clearly identified—and if there is more than one person or group involved, this should be made clear as well.

Once you have determined who owns and maintains your CMDB, it’s important that everyone else in your organization knows this as well; any confusion about who owns what could lead to errors being introduced into the system or even worse—a complete breakdown of communication between departments that work closely together on projects.

Identify roles and responsibilities

To build  an effective CMDB, roles and responsibilities should be defined and assigned. They need to be communicated, monitored, and managed. Onboarding is a great time to get this done. When you’re bringing someone new onto an IT team, it’s important to make sure they understand their role in the process of managing change requests or tickets. If someone has questions about what they can do when something breaks down or if there’s a problem with their computer or software program then it’s helpful for them to know where they can find answer if not from IT support immediately then from other team members who may have experience solving similar problems before so that everyone stays productive throughout all work stages of the project lifecycle – from initiation through implementation.

Determine governance

Define the CMDB’s governance by defining the roles and responsibilities for the CMDB, its purpose and scope, data quality standards, integration and interfaces with other systems, security and availability.

Your CMDB should have a governance structure that provides oversight and alignment of its activities. The governing body should include representation from business units responsible for different lines of business (e.g., finance or manufacturing), as well as representatives from IT organizations (e.g., application development). 

If there are multiple CMDBs in an organization, then each must have a separate governance structure with representation from each business unit. The CMDB governing body is responsible for establishing the CMDB vision, mission, and strategy, defining the roles and responsibilities of the CMDB, and ensuring that the CMDB has adequate resources to accomplish its objectives.

Define configuration items and updates

Define a configuration item as a unique entity

Configuration items (CI) must be uniquely identified, and each one must be assigned an identifier. The identifier should be based on the item’s name, model, or other descriptive data. It should be easy to remember and easy to communicate.

Define a configuration item as manageable

A CMDB provides information about all changes that have occurred across your IT systems. This includes software updates and configuration changes for hardware components, such as servers or switches. This information can get complicated quickly. Therefore, it is important to define the various ways in which you want to manage your configuration items. 

For example: Do you want CI management capabilities at the individual endpoint level? Or do you plan on managing change from multiple endpoints simultaneously?

Also consider whether any of these features are optional or required. If yes, make sure you clearly define them. This is so there aren’t any misunderstandings later when something goes wrong with one of your CIs.

Define data quality standards

Data quality standards are rules, or guidelines, that you establish to ensure your CMDB is relevant and accurate. They’re essential for ensuring that the data stored in your CMDB is correct and trustworthy.

To define data quality standards:

  • Define how frequently you will review each category of data within a given time frame (e.g., monthly)
  • Determine if there are specific fields to be reviewed more thoroughly than others (e.g., name fields)
  • Specify the number of records within a category to verify against an external source (e.g., actual number of devices deployed)

Determine integration and interfaces with other systems

  • Determine integration and interfaces with other systems
  • Integrate with other systems to create a comprehensive picture of your asset inventory. You can achieve this through either an interface or integration. This is the process of sharing data between two different software applications. If you already have one system in place that has good functionality but needs some enhancement, consider getting an interface from another company that specializes in integrations to add on to your existing installation.

Building a solid foundation for creating a CMDB solution that meets the current and future needs of enterprises

A good CMDB keeps track of all the devices and applications in your network and their relationships with each other. This information helps you keep your network running smoothly by letting you know of defects, unauthorized access or theft. 

A good CMDB is great for keeping track of all this stuff. However, it can also be difficult to manage without implementing some basic best practices first. 

If you have a CMDB in place, these best practices can help you make it better. If you don’t have one yet, they will help guide your decision-making process as you build it. And if you do have one but aren’t following these best practices? Well now’s the time to start!

Get your CMDB right with Virima!

If you’re struggling to maintain a trusted CMDB, Virima CMDB might just be the solution you’re looking for!

With powerful network-based discovery that automates the process of finding all your IT assets and cataloging their configurations, you can finally build a CMDB you can trust. No tedious bulk importing of devices or manual entries of configuration changes. Run Virima scans every day to find new assets and identify changes to existing CMDB assets.

Virima allows you to easily maintain an ITIL®–compliant CMDB by first validating changes against the change management system before promoting them to the CMDB.

You can also leverage Virima’s powerful reporting capabilities to gain valuable insights into how your organization is using its resources—and where there may be room for improvement.

We hope that this article helped you with the CMDB best practices and applications. Request a demo today!

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