CMDB Rebuild Best Practices

CMDB Rebuild Best Practices

A current CMDB user isn’t getting the promised glory from their CMDB. They have an exorbitant amount of CIs, they may be linking to changes, but the accuracy may be off, they may have legacy or old data which isn’t reliable, and they often feel that the organization as a whole cannot comfortably say, my CMDB is trustworthy and actionable.

Evaluation: Challenges, Data Quality, Policy

Q1 - When a company begins this journey where is the best place to start?

  • Identify stakeholders
  • Conduct workshops to identify challenges and objectives
    • Missing, old, duplicate CIs
    • Incomplete attributes
    • Lack of automation
    • No visibility into data quality

Q2 - How do we determine what Good Looks Like in regards to the CMDB?

  • Align key CI classes and attributes with objectives
  • Monitor key CIs and attributes
  • Calculate overall data quality score
  • User reported data quality issues

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A good CMDB should enable end to end visibility of IT devices and the services those tools support.

Q3 - Do you find Customers have a policy in place for the CMDB?

  • In most cases, no.

Q4 - Without a policy in place, how does this impact CMDB data quality and IT processes?

  • Data quality will decline
  • Stakeholders become frustrated
  • CMDB rebuild becomes necessary

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IT Processes reliant on the CMDB

The Fix: Process Adjustment, Tool Improvements, Data Remediation

Q5 - What should we do to improve the success of the CMDB?

  • Evaluate current processes the customer is executing to create and maintain CIs during their lifecycle. This includes how CIs are created, updated, and retired.
  • Institute Policy - This is the “why we are doing things a certain way” conversation. Policy upholds stakeholder objectives and aligns them with the way we work in the CMDB.
  • Enforce Procedures - These are the “how do we do things properly” conversations. How do we create a new CI? How do we import data from external sources? How often do we run our discovery tool? How do we remediate duplicate, stale, or missing CIs.
  • Adequate Training for all Users of the CMDB

Q6 - What tools in ServiceNow can we use to automatically maintain data in the CMDB?

  • New Technology doesn't solve all their problems, but these tools make it much easier;
  • Tools that can help achieve a trustworthy CMDB include ServiceNow Discovery to create and updated CIs found on the network. This is typically used to maintain infrastructure class CIs, but it can be used to maintain end user CIs like Windows and Macintosh computers.
    • Discovery is an application to automate the creation and maintenance for CIs
    • If Discovery cannot communicate with endpoints for Compliance or other acceptable reasons we can still create the CI as part of our process.
  • Service Catalog item to report data quality issues (missing CIs, wrong data)
  • Microsoft SCCM is commonly used to import Windows computers.
  • And data can be imported from other sources in various ways such as a direct integration, database queries, or data exports.

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IT Processes reliant on the CMDB

Q7 - How do we measure Data Quality in the CMDB?

  • CMDB Health to identify issues and calculate an overall health scor
    • Implement CMDB Health to continually identify stale, duplicate, and missing data. This includes CIs and their relationships. And then define and execute remediation steps to resolve these issues.
  • Measure what matters - Key Elements first
  • Service Catalog Item to report data quality issues
    • Measure CMDB data quality using health checks, monitor tickets related to data quality issues, and compare CIs against external sources to close gaps.

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CMDB Health Dashboard

Continual Process Improvements: ITIL Fundamentals!

Q8 - Where do we go from here? Is good to us still good enough?

  • Establish governance for CMDB data quality to include policy, and procedure documentation along with communication and training.
  • Regularly review new challenges and stakeholder objectives, and repeat the cycle.

If organizations need help starting this journey we recommend reaching out to Raptek directly. This is our bread and butter!!! Email info@raptek.com and we can connect you with one of our leading CMDB or ITOM experts!