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.
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.