IT Configuration Data – Pretty Pictures or Actionable Insights?

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IT Service Management and Configuration Management Databases (CMDB) have been around for a long time and most companies have been loading them with configuration data for years.  But how much value are you really receiving from the data you are amassing?  Is your IT configuration data only giving you pretty pictures… or is it generating actionable insights?

The purpose of IT configuration management and IT data management in general is providing trustworthy insights that enable informed decision making.  It’s not about how much data you have, it’s about what you use it for.  IT configuration data is essentially a raw material that needs to be refined and combined with other things to be transformed into understandable information and actionable insights.  Like most raw materials, their real value isn’t exposed until the transformation is complete.

Discovery

Discovery tools are great!  They enable you to collect data about your IT environment from various points of view focusing on different layers in the technology stack.  When you combine discovery data with reference data and master data from other sources, you probably have most of the pieces to assemble a pretty good picture of your environment that shows what is there and how the parts fit together.  This is a good start.  The more pieces you have available to work with, the more complete your puzzle is likely to be when it is assembled.

Data Aggregation

Once you’ve collected data from different sources, that is where your CMDB comes into the picture – providing a place where you can begin to bring the pieces together and connect them together.  IT configuration data is really nothing more than lists of data and dependencies mapped between them  (configuration items and relationships).  Discovery is usually pretty good about providing updates to the lists of data, but relationships are a bit more difficult.  The dependency data that is derived from different discovery sources can often have gaps and overlaps that need to be reconciled in the CMDB to make the overall picture accurate.

Visualization

After some aggregation and refinement in the CMDB, your IT configuration data picture should be starting to take shape – but depending on how you are trying to view it, it might be pretty confusing.  That is because the data in your CMDB is a simplified representation (in text form) of your IT environment which started out as a picture.  In order to “see” the picture that your IT configuration data is portraying, you need to get it back into a visual form.  Most reporting and analytic solutions that provide “data visualization” are really focused on depicting summarized data (graphs and trends).  Understanding your IT environment requires visualizing the detailed underlying data in a way you can easily understand.  Data visualization capabilities like Virima can help with that by turning your raw CMDB data (configuration items and relationships) back into the picture the data depicts.

Harvesting Actionable Insights

Simply visualizing the data in your CMDB isn’t enough unless your end goal is simply creating some pretty pictures and artwork.  For most companies, the reason they invest in IT configuration data is not to create art, it is to create information and drive decisions.  This requires the ability to take the big picture of your IT environment, zoom in on the area you are interested in, filter out the stuff you don’t need, and focus in on the information that is meaningful.

If you have the right tools to do this effectively, the information that you see will provide you with insights about what is working well and where there are areas needing attention.  These are the actionable insights that decision makers are looking for.  In order to get there, you not only need the raw materials, but you need the right tools to help you with the refinement process.  That is Virima’s specialty – providing the discovery tools, CMDB and visualization capabilities to manage the end-to-end process of turning your IT configuration data into insights that drive value for your company.

Why not see for yourself? Run Virima Discovery free for 60 days in a data center of your choice and see how insightful a fully visualized CMDB can really be. To learn more, sign up here.

Summary:

IT Configuration Data

IT Service Management and Configuration Management Databases (CMDB) have been around for a long time and most companies have been loading them with configuration data for years. But how much value are you really receiving from the data you are amassing? Is your IT configuration data only giving you pretty pictures… or is it generating actionable insights? The purpose of IT configuration management and IT data management in general is providing trustworthy insights that enable informed decision making. It’s not about how much data you have, it’s about what you use it for. IT configuration data is essentially a raw material that needs to be refined and combined with other things to be transformed into understandable information and actionable insights. Like most raw materials, their real value isn’t exposed until the transformation is complete. The steps: Discovery, Data Aggregation, Visualization and Harvesting Actionable Insights.

Mike Bombard

Mike Bombard

Mike Bombard COO Virima Technologies - Mike joined Virima Technologies (Atlanta, GA) in 2010 and oversees Virima ITAM/ITSM SaaS product sales, marketing and field services organizations. He has been providing solutions to solve complex IT challenges in a variety of industries for over 25 years.

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