Configuration Management – How Mature Are You?

How mature is your configuration management strategy? Do you know what applications you have and how it is connected? Does your configuration support IT management, operations and security easily? Or is your Configuration Management team overwhelmed and getting too much information too fast? Configuration Management is like any process: an organization needs to “crawl,” then “walk,” then “run.” As important as Configuration Management is, companies try to jump right to “run” which is a prime reason why Configuration Management initiatives fail. Organizations try to do too much with too little experience, not enough resources, and not enough cultural acceptance.  Organizations need to get the early skills right so that higher maturity skills are easier to learn.

Here some examples of Configuration Management:

  • Early Maturity Activity: Go Narrow or Shallow. Pick one well-documented service and model it completely (go narrow). Or, document all the servers that support your key applications and services (go shallow). The goal is to have accurate information for your ITSM processes.
  • Medium Maturity Activities: Make the Boundaries. Use experience from developing your first service models to carefully define your Configuration Management processes. What classes are you going to need? What criteria will you use to define your needs? What approvals will you need? You will want to add new classes to meet your ITSM needs. Define a process for vetting which classes to use. Make sure you have defined the need for each new CI type. Typical classes will include databases, software servers, and networking devices. I can’t stress enough to ONLY add the classes you have a defined need for.
  • Higher Level Maturity Activity: Monitor, Audit and Continually Improve. At this level, your governance should be in place and well established. Make sure your configuration audit processes can support the complexity of your organization and large numbers of devices. Monitor CMDB usage and look for new opportunities to support the business.

These are just some activities at each maturity level and provide a means of understanding where you in the maturity continuum. Configuration Management is a mature process in and of itself. Companies seeking to control their IT should start by “keeping the lights on.” Master Incident Management and Problem Management first to reduce your mean time to restoration.  Then focus on controlling your IT services. Change Management and Configuration Management begin to come into play now.  Contact Effect-Tech if you want to know more about IT and Configuration Management maturity and how we can help you get more out of your business.

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