Deploying CMDB Technology

Martin Atherton


As organisations look to improve how IT is delivered to the business, the role of a centrally managed repository of IT assets, services and their relationships – the Configuration Management Database (CMDB) – becomes increasingly important. But how practical is deploying such a repository, and what considerations need to be taken into account? This report looks at real world practicalities of CMDB deployment and specifically, where early adopters have focussed to achieve success.


The drivers for and benefits of a CMDB are recognised and widely appreciated

Such technologies are expected to improve an organisation’s ability to deliver services and allow a more flexible response to changing business requirements. A recent study of almost 1,500 IT professionals confirms these benefits, with those with experience of CMDB implementation being even more positive about the payback.

The majority of organisations have CMDB on their radar, with many already active
A significant number of organisations across all size bands and industries have started on the CMDB journey, confirming the broad relevance of this kind of solution. Progress is understandably more advanced among large enterprises (10,000+ employees), where over 75% of those interviewed expect to have implemented CMDB within 18 months if they haven’t done so already.

CMDB naturally goes hand-in-hand with a “service-oriented” culture
IT organisations taking a service-centric approach have a significant head start in understanding the practicalities of implementing CMDB. Such attitudes are prevalent in certain industries, notably Telco and Financial Services, which understand well the relationship between the quality of service provided to customers and the internal IT services that support them.

Best practice is evident, and while ITIL figures highly, it’s not the only guiding light
ITIL may well consider CMDB to be the cornerstone of its philosophy, but there are many organisations that don’t consider ITIL to be the cornerstone of their service management strategy. CMDB is seen as an important enabler of service quality regardless of whether ITIL is part of the equation, exploding the myth that organisations only implement CMDB because ITIL says so.

Lessons from early CMDB adopters can be the foundation for your success

There is broad agreement ‘out there’ as to what should form the basis of a successful CMDB project. Freeform Dynamics recommends the following is factored into CMDB ‘due diligence’:

  • Business cases and drivers: find the relevant hooks for your organisation from the myriad of real and tangible business and IT related factors explored in this report.
  • Project planning: flexibility is vital to success. The approach chosen must ready the organisation for some specific challenges. Basic project discipline such as planning, review and risk management is critical.
  • Get the right people: senior management and IT architect involvement is seen as critical to success by those with implementation experience.
  • Best practices: their influence is likely to vary with time: you will most likely find that your organisation will evolve towards them, because you can exploit the best parts.
  • Influence the influencers: the ‘CMDB conversation’ with suppliers must reflect your needs

The research on which this report is based was designed, executed and interpreted independently by Freeform Dynamics. Feedback was
gathered via an online survey (1272 respondents, predominantly IT professionals, UK, USA, Rest of Europe and Rest of World) and indepth
telephone interviews (202 respondents, IT managers, Western Europe, USA). The study was sponsored by CA.

Content Contributors: Martin Atherton

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