The IT ecosystem of organizations is composed of a heterogeneous set of elements which grow in number and complexity with technological advances and the passing of years. As a result, and thanks to the exponential growth of performance requirements and reactivity of IT components Configuration Management has become an indispensable process for any company.
Establishing measures for Configuration Management is a common practice within organizations. However, for some of them, finding the ideal formula to make this process successful can often be a challenge. If you are interested in knowing the best practices to carry it out; we recommend you read these 5 effective tips below.
Why Configuration Management?
Configuration Management is part of the ITIL framework’s best practices. It is a vital process that provides a logical model of the organization’s infrastructure by identifying, controlling, maintaining, and verifying the various elements that make up the IT ecosystem throughout their useful life.
The objectives of this process are:
- To create a database that identifies all the IT assets of the organization.
- Provide relevant information on configurations to support other processes.
- Define a solid basis for Incident Management; Problem Management and Change Management.
- Compare stored information regarding IT assets with the infrastructure and correct differences.
What are the benefits that this process can bring to the organization?
- Provides accurate information about the configuration items and their documentation
- Facilitates compliance with legal obligations: A component that is reported and not referenced may be an unauthorized component (e.g., software).
- Help with financial management and cost forecasting: maintenance costs, software license costs, renewal of maintenance contracts, etc.
- Contributes to the definition of emergency plans: The CMDB and the software library of the final versions facilitate the restoration of services in case of emergency.
- Reduces the cost of unauthorized software: Unknown software significantly increases support times in the event of incidents.
- Allows impact assessments to be carried out and correct and safe changes to be planned.
Reduces the risk of service interruption after a change.
5 Tips for Effective Configuration Management
#1 Perform Configuration Management like any other project
To guarantee the order, continuity, and effectiveness of Configuration Management; we recommend you to use the same methodology that you would use for any other project of the organization. For this you can divide your plan into 5 consecutive stages:
- Consultation, preparation, and planning.
- Definitions of CM processes according to the company.
- Evaluation of methods and tools through a pilot project.
- Feedback management and implementation of improvements through CM.
#2 Create an appropriate CMDB.
The logic, rationalization, and simplicity of Configuration Management depend on the creation of a good database describing all the elements of the IT ecosystem. In the context of the ITIL framework, this database is called CMDB (Configuration Management Data Base).
It represents a vital factor when executing Configuration Management mainly because it contains technical information (configuration, availability, service level, etc.) and administrative and financial information: contracts with suppliers; equipment licenses, distribution key for internal re-invoicing, etc.
#3 Standardize hardware and software
Standardization will make it significantly easier for you to maintain IT components. The less heterogeneous the infrastructure, the easier and cheaper it will be to maintain. Therefore, when analyzing Configuration Management it is important that you analyze the profiles of IT users to group them around typical hardware and software configurations.
This activity will not only allow you to standardize the elements of Hardware and Software but will also allow you to capitalize on the knowledge of your organization’s human potential to take advantage of its potential and make available the right tools.
#4 Measure results
You can only improve what you can measure, so it is essential that you constantly analyze the effectiveness of Configuration Management results in your company. As with other ITIL processes, KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) will allow you to carry out this activity more effectively. Some indicators you can use are:
- The number of licenses wasted, not used.
- Components not authorized, but still in use or in operation.
- The number of changes made to the CMDB per month due to errors identified in the CMDB.
- The evolution of the number and severity of Incidents and Problems.
- The number of changes that were not successfully completed; due to an underestimated impact or error in the CMDB.
#5 Perform Software Version Control and Management
Software version control is the practice of deploying software versions consisting of similar network devices. This improves the opportunity for validation and testing in selected software versions and significantly reduces the number of software bugs and interoperability problems melt into the network. Limited software versions also reduce the risk of unusual behavior with user interfaces and other elements of the IT ecosystem.
This makes the environment less complex and easier to manage. Overall, software version control improves network availability and helps reduce the costs of reactive support.
Another tip: we recommend that you automate your organization’s operations as much as possible; with high-performance tools. A leading solution such as ServiceNow, for example, can give you the resources you need to carry out vital processes of your organization, based on ITIL best practices.
Finally, If what you need are solutions that help you empower all aspects of your organization, Gb Advisors has the best. Contact us now for more information.