I just had an interesting discussion with CMDB experts at Moviri. I asked my collegues why a company should implement a CMDB solution and what makes a CMDB project a success. Some interesting insights came out in the discussion and I want to share them.

1) CMDB Benefits

Talking about the benefits, a CMDB solution is not only a logical representation of the IT Environment, but it also enables your company to break down the barriers between IT and business, help people and processes to work more efficiently together. The use of CMDB reduces the cost of internal communication, creates a common dictionary and structure of IT Elements shared by everyone, boosts and encourages the development of the typical “application lifecycle” processes such as Change Management, Configuration Management and Asset Repository Management.

2) Successful implementation

Once the rationales of cultural change and cost effectiveness are accepted, the next logical step is to focus on HOW to make your CMDB project execution a success for your company.

In their experience, my colleagues stress that the right approach is far more important than any given technology or solution being implemented.

When implementing a CMDB solution the winning approach lies in understanding how the solution fits with your company. As there is not a single, one-size-fit-all CMDB solution, you should analyze both actual needs and IT processes and services in order to understand how information flows inside the enterprise and identify the best solution in terms of business and technical effort. Having mapped your company processes, you can now implement the CMDB solution, whose purpose is the integration between processes and creating a logical model that best fits your enterprise.

3) Incremental approach

Do not forget that the best approach is usually incremental: you do not need to quick cover all your IT environment, but you better start from a small sets of IT Elements and then expand the base in sequential steps, working on different layers such as System/Asset, Application and Business.

A good approach also incorporates the capability, when the solution implementation is mature, to enrich the logical elements of the CMDB  with KPIs. In this way, the CMDB becomes the source of truth for several processes crossing all organizational units such as Impact Analysis, Change Governance, Auditing and Compliance, Service Performance Planning, Services Mapping and Resource Optimization.

4) Technology

How about the technology applied? As CMDB experts, we all agree that that it doesn’t really matter which is the “backend” technical implementation, whether a custom vendor solution or integrated environment deployment. It really doesn’t matter even if a flexible, extensible, and ready-to-integrate technology (such as HP uCMDB or BMC Atrium) will boosts your CMDB initiatives.

In conclusion, you should bear in mind that the key success factor in any successful CMDB implementation is the proper understanding of how governance and automation are setup now, how they will evolve and update in the future and how they will be used and shared within the organization. Success in CMDB projects goes beyond a “all-in-one vendor solution” propositions and best relies on leveraging reliable integration and federation of multiple information sources and approaches.