How to Progress to the Next Level of CMDB Maturity with ServiceNow?

To manage IT operations, assess security risks, and make informed decisions, a mature CMDB is essential. However, organizations often struggle to achieve CMDB maturity due to the lack of resources with the required skill sets, a strategic plan, and the right tools to populate the Configuration Item (CI) data faster and accurately into the CMDB.
Our previous blog post on CMDB explained how organizations can maintain a healthy CMDB with ServiceNow. This article throws light on how organizations can use ServiceNow to enter CI data accurately into the CMDB and a 3-step maturity model to build an effective CMDB with ServiceNow.

How to Enter CI Data Accurately into CMDB?

The structure of CMDB is mainly grouped into three categories – Hardware, Software, and Services. Organizations can manage their CI data with this out-of-the-box (OOTB) CMDB structure and customize it, if required, according to their specific business requirements. But with such customizations comes the challenge of entering data accurately for seamless CMDB implementation. The CMDB data structure includes records that depict CI relationships. The CI records are stored in a hierarchical model, and child CIs inherit the attributes of parent CIs.
The methods that organizations use to enter and group CI data in the CMDB depict their CMDB implementation’s maturity level. There are mainly three methods through which organizations can populate data into the CMDB:
  • 1) Manually entering CI data
  • 2) Importing data from CSV files or spreadsheets
  • 3) Importing data using ServiceNow Discovery and Service Mapping
The method an organization chooses for populating CI data may depend on its requirements. Having said that, the first two methods can be time-consuming and prone to errors. Hence, the third option which is the automated data populating method offered by ServiceNow through its solutions ServiceNow Discovery and Service Mapping can ensure all the required data is stored in the CMDB.
Here’s how ServiceNow Discovery and Service Mapping tools can help populate the data efficiently into the CMDB.
  • ServiceNow Discovery leverages its automation capabilities to discover and populate infrastructure-related or CI data into the CMDB.
  • Subsequently, ServiceNow Service Mapping utilizes the data discovered by ServiceNow Discovery to map the relationship between the CIs and the organization’s services and populates that data in the CMDB.
  • ServiceNow Discovery and ServiceNow Service Mapping work together to provide organizations with the required visibility into their IT infrastructure and services in the CMDB.
Let’s now take a look at how organizations can achieve CMDB maturity with ServiceNow.

Find out how a Fortune 500 company revolutionized its IT operations management by optimizing ServiceNow CMDB.

The 3 Stages of CMDB Maturity –The Role of ServiceNow in Progressing to the Next Level

Organizations can be classified into three different categories, considering the level of their CMDB maturity. Let’s now see what each level of CMDB maturity looks like and how ServiceNow enables organizations to improve their CMDB maturity.
Stage 1: CRAWL
  • Follows manual data populating methods
  • Lack of knowledge of IT operations
  • No proper CMDB setup
In the crawling stage, organizations may not have their CMDB implemented properly and may manually be populating the CI data and mapping them with the business services. They may be majorly dependent on traditional processes and have a reactive management process. They may not have a complete picture of their IT operations due to the lack of expertise and the required resources.
Organizations at this stage need to get a complete understanding of their IT operations to level up their CMDB maturity. They should develop relevant objectives and make sure that the implementation is in line with these objectives. Setting up a proper configuration management team and ensuring seamless communication among all the stakeholders should be the main focus at this stage.
Stage 2: WALK
  • Lack of automation capabilities for populating data
  • A fair understanding of IT Operations
  • Equipped with a proper CMDB
In the walking stage of CMDB maturity, the organizations would have a proper CMDB governance model. They may be utilizing two methods to enter CI data and map it with the services– 1. Manual data entry, and 2. Importing data from spreadsheets.
Organizations that fall under this category should clearly define the roles and responsibilities among the team, such as the configuration manager, system analyst, and so on. Setting up a Configuration Control Board (CCB) can help control the configuration management operations efficiently. Organizations should prioritize determining the most critical CI data based on their IT operations. Based on business operations, they would have to design their CMDB structure appropriately to ensure proper storage of CI data and move up in the maturity graph.
Stage 3: RUN
  • Implements automated data populating & mapping tools – ServiceNow Discovery and Service Mapping
  • Streamlined and efficient IT operations in place
  • Has a mature CMDB built
This is the next level in the CMDB maturity. Organizations that fall under this category must have implemented automated tools like ServiceNow Discovery and Service Mapping to discover CIs and map relevant business services. The IT team would now have a birds-eye-view of all the physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructure through a single ServiceNow platform. They would rely more on the ServiceNow CMDB health dashboard to identify errors and maintain accurate CI data in their CMDB. They would be better equipped with ServiceNow CMDB and prepared to handle unexpected disruptions if any.
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The Road Ahead

Achieving CMDB maturity is a gradual process and takes time and careful planning. Identifying business requirements and capabilities and aligning that with CMDB implementation is the way forward. Moreover, the right expert team should be present to ensure smooth CMDB implementation.
KANINI, a ServiceNow Premier Partner and a Managed Service Provider (MSP), helps organizations across industries to implement ServiceNow CMDB efficiently and enhance their  CMDB maturity. Click here to learn more about our ServiceNow implementation services.
Author

Joshua Smith

Joshua is the ServiceNow Practice Director at KANINI. He is a process improvement thought leader and digital transformation expert. Over the past 15 years, Josh’s 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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