CMDBs – A Missed Opportunity to Transform your IT?

Using CMDB for IT Transformationby Craig McFarlane

Today’s digital transformation is well underway and it’s raising expectations about how fast IT departments can move. To meet the demand, you have to constantly modernize your technology stack and focus your IT investments on enhancing the customer experience.

IT teams are contemplating new platforms and channels all the time. But that means that carrying a lot of legacy assets or having a fragmented environment won’t cut it any more — because they will prevent you from moving quickly.

IT hygiene is critical. And a configuration management database (CMDB) is a great opportunity to capture every detail of your IT organization and have it at your fingertips.

It can lay out all of your assets and show you how they relate to one another, making it invaluable. Used properly, it can enable you to respond rapidly to business when a change is needed, make it easier to plan out asset life cycles and streamline everyday maintenance and management.

However, in my conversations with many CTOs and CIOs, few are using it to its full potential. The reality is that the CMDB is a large and complex database that needs input from across the organization to capture all current data and fully harness all of its inherent benefits.

And that input isn’t likely just in the logical places; you’ve got to uncover and capture the information stored in unexpected and diverse places across the organization – legacy notebooks, spreadsheets, and even “tribal knowledge” held by a individual subject matter experts and company veterans.

Mind the gap

I’ve heard from many IT leaders that they consider the CMDB an essential tool for their organization.

However, they contend that it takes deep technical expertise and experience to understand it and manage it properly, not something that the business leaders across the executive conference room table would understand. But I think there’s great risk in building and operating a CMDB in a vacuum.

If there’s a chasm between business and IT, the CMDB can quickly become a dormant and ineffective decision-making platform, not to mention a waste of company dollars.

To get the full benefit out of the CMDB, there need to be regular, collaborative conversations with business leaders. If IT and business can work together, not just on individual projects, but on overall planning, the organization can build a vital and vibrant decision-making database, accessible in a visual format so everyone can see the interconnections across your IT landscape — and then be more agile.

These days, with business leaders expecting the IT team to be flexible and able to adapt quickly to new technology, it couldn’t be more important to establish a foundational knowledge of your environment. And working together can also drive a fundamental cultural shift: business team members will come to understand and appreciate how projects move through technology – and the IT team will be better able to make decisions and prepare for the future.

We built our TransitionManager software to facilitate collaboration– not just between IT team members — but to bridge the silos that exist across every organization and build an accurate, current and actionable IT platform, which can then be exported back into the CMDB.

Time and time again, we hear that clients appreciate the value of that collaboration and, perhaps most important, see the benefits in being able to drive their business forward together, faster.


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