Some views on Configuration Management/CMDB

I think there is a need of a more strategic and tactical view on Configuration Management, just as I tried to explain in my recent post on Change Management. First I have to say that my main discipline in ITIL/ITSM is perhaps Configuration Management. Maybe it's because of that experience that I often describe Configuration Management as being "the ditch in which 'the ITIL automobile' comes to a stop". The ITIL books are somewhat sparse with information on how to get the process of Configuration Management to work, not to speak of the realisation of the CMDB. This leaves us all searching for "silver bullets" or perhaps a "breakdown lorry" to stay with the allegory mentioned earlier.

There are really a lot to say in this matter and I will get back on the subject. For now I sum it all up like this: there is an apparent need of several (new) "views on Configuration Management" and different "levels" in our CMDBs. If we don't take this into consideration there is a risk of ending up in the "ditch" with our ITIL initiatives...

As usual a little research shows I'm not the first nor the most talented that has recognised this and I therefore leave you with some great links on the subject:

The IT Skeptic (sometimes called the ITIL Skeptic) is really a great blog with lots on the subject - www.itskeptic.org
Charles T Betz is an Enterprise architect that I enjoy reading. He has a lot of thoughts on the subject that I find interesting - http://erp4it.typepad.com/erp4it/2007/02/configuration_d.html
Some resources on the University of Minnesota Service Management site with a White-paper on CMDB - http://www.cce.umn.edu/professionalcertification/itil/resources.html

Feel free to comment. I'd love if you have an opposite opinion, David :-)


A new certification is always nice!

I now have received my ITIL Practitioner Release and Control (IPRC) certificate. Since I did the course a year ago I've not had the time to complete the certification and do the test. I finally found that time a couple of weeks ago and have now gotten the result.

It feels real good to get a concrete acknowledgement and the pin is really nice in demonstrating this ;-).

Best regards and happy Easter to ya all!

David :-)


The difference between a change and a change...

I understand if this sounds a bit like philosophy and not ITIL or even like a poor sentence, but I think you'll see the point if you read the entire post.

The Change Management process is one of the fundamental pieces of Service Management and of ITIL. What I want to point out is how this process is often managed with an operational view and how that can conflict with the whole customer-oriented view of ITIL. An RFC for instance is often initiated by a customer wanting to change for example a service on a high level. This kind of change requires a project which further down the process line makes a change to the CIs in the production environment. What I want to point out here as a risk in this chain of thinking is that the change is different both in character and in content on the tactical or strategic business level compared to the operational level.

The businesses perspective on the change in this example is much more complex and must be secured at the appropriate level (see picture with Change in the classical three layer pyramid). If the parties involved in this change have not agreed on and realized that this "business change" is impossible to get in place if Change Management and RFCs is delimited to an operational view. If that is the case the (often) technical change must "push the change up to a business level" which I think is wrong.

What I think is needed is a more holistic view on changes. The ITIL literature is in my opinion both a bit vague on the strategic/tactical support and a bit too focused on the operational parts of a change. To secure a better handling of changes initiated by customers the provider must "meet" the customer and stop accepting RFCs that are "thrown over the wall" or to keep the pyramid view, "down to the operational level".

If the service provider invests (with the customers money as is always the case, right?) in a better cooperation in the creation, interpretation and "breakdown" of RFCs with the customer it is my strong belief that Change Management would benefit. Maybe it is needed to point out that RFCs initiated from the operational level have similar requirements although inverted. The technical changes must be of value for and in alignment with the business, right?

"Business reorganisation" and "the adaptive business" are really strong drivers in todays businesses and change is business critical. To serve these businesses well it is my humble opinion that we have to adopt a more tactical and perhaps even a strategic view on Change Management.

What is your view on this? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts on the subject!

Regards, David :-)


Details on the ITIL version 3 launch

At last the release party we all have been waiting for is here! The itSMF invites everyone to celebrate the launch of ITIL version 3. The place is Vinopolis, a conference centre a couple of blocks from the London Bridge, and the date is now set to June the 5th. For £295 (itSMF members) and £395 (non members) you get a whole day with the Refresh team, the authors and of course Sharon Taylor. Although I guess the presentations will be similar to the ones given on several itSMF conferences during the last couple of months it is of course an "historic event". To get your name on one of the tickets to this event you should go to the new website that has been set up for the launch: http://www.itilv3launch.com/ (see image above). Proud sponsors are IBM and OGC's partners TSO and APM Group. A cool event that I'll not attend, unfortunately..

So, now the launch is really close and it feels like the best practices that were published as GITIMM/ITIL for the first time more than 20 years ago are getting a great Refresh. Thanks to all of you out there that have been working for almost 3 years with this. Can't wait to get my hands on the books...

Best regards, David :-)

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