Andreas ScheggAndreas Schegg Can a Classic CMDB Cope With Business Service Management?

08/07/2008 by Andreas Schegg

Today´s IT in its role as service provider for the enterprise requires an immediate rethinking with regard to resources and configurations data management.

If the datastore is not flexible enough, requirements resulting from service lifecycle management (SLM) might not be met to a satifactory degree and the provisioning of the CMDB services might not be as expected or as efficient as wanted.

Configuration management databases (CMDB) used nowadays serve as rudimentary data pools and threaten to exist mainly for marketing reasons.

A Sound Data Collection – Highly Exceeding Today´s Standard – is Necessary!
A useful, efficient and active service lifecycle management (SLM) calls for a comprehensive enterprise service orientation and cross-company service management.

To reach this goal, a homogenous and sound service database with an emphasis on „service“ is fundamental. Building up this database, the first step is to define a service catalog that allows all services including their relations to be identified. It is most important that all IT services are assigned to business services. This enables business service management (BSM) to execute impact analyses to an extent that would have been unthinkable ever before.

From this perspective, a business service is an IT Service that creates direct value which becomes right away visible outside IT– due its obvious benefit to the business.

At least one service access point per business service provides the point of entry to the targeted service and to the connection between business service and technical service.

When collecting data for the service catalog, preferably by interviewing a number of steakholders, it is recommended to divide the service structure of the data collection into at least business, applications and infruastructure services from the beginning. The interviewer should always take the perspective of the interviewed person, as the service comsumer is the only one to tell if the provided service meets his/her requirements.

There is more to a Service CMDB (S-CMDB)
The data collected for the service catalog must be stored together with the usual data from other IT areas such as project portfolio management (PPM), IT development, and IT service management (ITSM).

In order to do justice to a comprehensive service portfolio management approach, the data collection must contain all information, including their relations, needed for business as well as projects.

Enabler of Comprehensive Service Portfolio Management
The common data collection created for project portfolio management, IT development, and IT service management enables an efficient  holistic view of all IT and other projects and, in turn, serves as a basis for the targeted service portfolio management.

Service Lifecycle

The above figure illustrates that within the life cycle of a service, depending on the nature of the change, the currently prevailing requirement is considered either a project request or an operational issue. Through a holistic view, all service changes can be re-prioritized and grouped according to business requirements and users. This reduces risk within the implementation or problem solving cycle and ensures a seamless transition into business.

Conventional CMDBs need to be extended if they want to meet the requirements of S-CMDBs and to achieve the high expected benefit to IT.

About the author:
Andreas Schegg, ITIL and Configuration Management Expert, is Senior Consultant at Ontrex AG, Winterthur, Switzerland.

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3 Responses

  • 1
    Frank Strong:

    I think you are right on the mark with your analysis Andreas; the CMDB should be all about the “service.” Managed Objects believes that the myths of the CMDB are in part caused by the misnomer of calling it a “database.” ITIL v3 has done well to modify the name to a CMS, or configuration management system, which might, for example encompass several “sub-CMDBs” such as the CMDB associated with an asset management tool. As a case in point, we believe the best approach to a CMS, or as you say S-CMDB, might tie together asset and performance or other existing data sources through API level integration. We’ve spelled out this philosophy in a couple of published articles I’ve listed below.

    10 Tips for a Successful CMDB Project

    Myths of the CMDB

  • 2
    Andreas Schegg:

    many thanks for your comments and the 2 valuable links that I can only recommend reading all readers of above post. It looks like beteo and Managed Objects are well aligned regarding the value of a CMDB and the do’s and don’ts of CMDB initiatives.

    Comprehensive Configuration Management storing the appropriate data is key for the management of changes of all services, beyond the scope of ITIL initiatives. Service Oriented Architectures, complex, heterogeneous systems and applications landscapes need a crystal ball for the change manager, a comprehensive CMDB.

    On beteo blog you find many more posts about the value of CMDB’s and impact analysis in the context of Application Lifecycle management not only for SAP IT. Please feel free to comment them.

    beteo is glad to publish and discuss your posts and posts from industry experts on and translated by beteo to German on

    I look forward to read more from you. Cheers.


  • 3
    HP uCMDB 7.0 Base Implementation Training /// beteo:

    […] UCMDB is able to store all kinds of properties of all kinds of systems. Nevertheless it is not a trivial task to use the UCMDB together with application lifecycle […]