How can Organizations Maintain a Healthy CMDB with ServiceNow?

Information Technology is essential for any organization to boost its productivity, deliver services efficiently, and constantly grow its business. But efficient management of IT infrastructure and operations which enable complex business processes to function as intended can be a tough task. This is where a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) comes into the picture.
CMDB is a centralized repository of configuration data of IT assets—servers, network devices, applications, and more—and the services managed by the organization. CMDB gives a clear perspective on how the Configuration Items (CI) – Hardware, Software, and more – work together to deliver business services. These CIs are allotted with their relevant attributes – CI Name, CI owner, serial number, status, and so on – in the CMDB.
Maintaining a healthy CMDB is essential for organizations to run their business processes smoothly without any downtimes or failures. Today, there are a number of CMDB tools/software available in the market that help organizations in maintaining a healthy CMDB. And ServiceNow CMDB is considered one of the best among them. This blog post discusses the importance of maintaining a healthy CMDB in more detail and how ServiceNow can help organizations achieve their CMDB goals.

Why is it important to maintain a healthy CMDB?

When companies plan to make changes to their IT infrastructure to align it with their business objectives, it is important for them to know the consequences of these changes on their business. A healthy CMDB gives an organization clear CI visibility—showing the impact of any IT infrastructural change on the business processes and other interconnected components —to prioritize and resolve incidents more efficiently.

Struggling to maintain a healthy Configuration Management Database (CMDB)? Look no further!

A healthy CMDB helps the organization:
  • Gain visibility into all configurable items across the operational estate
  • Reduce risks during the planning of infrastructural changes and increase efficiency
  • Ensure traceability and governance of the CI/CD process
  • Prioritize the response based on business and customer impact
  • Align the technology risks with the business
All of these benefits translate into:
  • 40% Reduced IT costs
  • 38% faster Incident resolution
  • 82% lower failure of changes
Source: ServiceNow

ServiceNow - The Key to Maintaining a Healthy CMDB

One of the biggest challenges that organizations may face in maintaining a healthy CMDB is ensuring data accuracy. Data quality issues may arise at times despite having the best-laid plans and modern automation technologies. The most typical data problems encountered in a CMDB include duplicate CIs, stale CIs, orphaned CIs, non-compliant CIs, and incompletely populated CIs. It is here that ServiceNow can be instrumental in helping organizations sail through this challenge and maintain a healthy CMDB.
ServiceNow’s CMDB Health Dashboard and Remediation Framework
ServiceNow’s CMDB Health Dashboard is a visual indicator to display the overall health of the CMDB at any given time. By implementing this dashboard, organizations can get a comprehensive view of the health of CMDB. Based on the visualizations on the dashboard, the stakeholders and the IT team can ensure that their CMDB is in line with their specific business objectives.
ServiceNow CMDB dashboard helps companies get clarity on their CMDB data and the CI relationship health through reports that depict the following 4 KPIs – Correctness, Compliance, Completeness, and Relationships. The first 3 are depicted under the CMDB Health tab of the CMDB dashboard (refer to image 1) and the latter as a separate tab (refer to image 2) therein like below:

Image 1

Image 2

The 4 KPIs of a Healthy CMDB
Correctness
The correctness scorecard in the CMDB health dashboard shows whether the CI data in ServiceNow CMDB is proper and helps the configuration team implement appropriate processes to maintain good CI data quality.
This KPI majorly considers three CIs to provide the correctness percentage:
  • Orphan CIs: CIs with no relationship with other CIs
  • Stale CIs: CIs that are outdated
  • Duplicate CIs: CIs that appear multiple times
Compliance
CIs in the CMDB should comply with the company’s audit parameters. The compliance scorecard in the dashboard can help companies understand whether the CIs are available with their relevant parameters. For example, if a company has set criteria that the systems or the CIs should have a minimum RAM of 4GB, the compliance score will depict the level of such compliance in the CMDB.
Completeness
The completeness scorecard helps enterprises know whether the CI data, along with their attributes, are complete and properly stored in the CMDB. If the required and recommended CI attributes are missing, IT teams may not be able to solve IT infrastructure problems efficiently. Based on the completeness scorecard, the configuration team can ensure that all the mandatory attributes and other useful CI attributes are included appropriately.
Relationships
This KPI measures the health of CI relationships. It shows whether the CI relationships are appropriately stored in the CMDB. Organizations can identify those CI relationships that have the same parent and child CIs, that don’t have a parent or child CI or have irrelevant parent or child CIs.
Monitoring and maintaining these KPIs is vital to maintaining a healthy CMDB. Additionally, based on the information gathered about unhealthy CIs, the CMDB health dashboard allows the users to create remediation rules and define standard remediation workflows. It offers a remediation framework. What this means is that when a CMDB remediation rule is created, common CI issues in the CMDB will automatically be identified. Subsequently, the remediation workflows defined in the rule will be executed to resolve the CI issues (For e.g. Remove stale CIs). This saves time and effort for the IT team.
The right tools and strategies are essential to maintaining a healthy CMDB.
Want to know more?

The Way Forward

A survey conducted by ServiceNow found that organizations with a well-maintained CMDB reported improved ITSM processes, including faster incident resolution and better change management. With ServiceNow’s CMDB health dashboard and remediation framework, organizations can streamline the process of maintaining the health of their CMDB, get an overall understanding of their IT operations, and improve business performance.
KANINI, a ServiceNow Premier Partner, helps companies ensure seamless implementation and maintenance of ServiceNow CMDB. Click here to know more about our ServiceNow CMDB Implementation Services.
Author

Joshua Smith

Joshua is a process improvement thought leader and digital transformation expert at KANINI. Over the past 15 years, his focus has always been on achieving organizational maturity and enhancing business processes through implementing tools and workflows to drive transformation initiatives. With experience in multiple verticals from – manufacturing to healthcare, Joshua brings a practitioner’s perspective when working on business solutions and goals to allow him to advise and guide on industry and process best practices.

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