Support and supported processes - To ensure CMS integrity and accuracy, a mature and effective change management capability must be integrated with a service asset and configuration management process to guarantee the CMS data is controlled and verified whenever changes are made.
To maximize CMS value, don't lose sight of integration with other processes that will be the consumers of the CMS data. For example, incident, problem and service continuity management processes will gain immediate value from the CMS. However, they have integration issues regarding discovery of inaccurate or incomplete data and the ability to quickly respond addressing it.
Toolset integration - Some of the most common challenges companies face when implementing a CMS can be attributed to the difficulty of not being able to effectively integrate discovery and mapping tools with the CMS to help ensure automated maintenance.
Additionally, organizations find it hard to effectively leveraging the CMS with other consumer applications like the service desk suite so incident and change records can be related to configuration information. These challenges are further compounded when diverse and disparate technologies and multi-vendor applications are selected and used.
For that reason determining the best tools solution based on your organization's needs and requirements is an essential step before selection or implementation of the CMS. Failure to do so can seriously degrade any ability to effectively integrate with or enable the processes.
One word: data - Another common set of challenges reside with decisions made around data planning and organization. This includes data modeling and collection, as well as the method used for data population. Organizations can find themselves solely focused on identifying just the data they can capture, as opposed to identifying the data required to support the CMS' primary purpose.
Other organizations experience difficulty in balancing the total number of CIs they collect with the depth and breadth of its classification and categorization. Collecting information on too many configuration items can lead to a data overload scenario that wastes time, money and resources. To make sure data integrity is preserved, all changes to configuration items should be frozen when data is being populated into the configuration management database.
A CMS is only a supporting system that provides an integrated set of views to data and information deemed vital to your organization. When properly orchestrated, its data can help lead your organization into making informed and wise decisions.
To position your organization so that it has the best chance to succeed when it comes to building a CMS, it is important to start simple and plan ahead. It is also critical that the CMS toolset be implemented with the proper supporting processes to help maintain accurate and timely data that staff can rely on. This will help ensure your CMS project produces the desired outcomes and lives up to your expectations.
Michael Tainter is director of Forsythes IT Service Management practice. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Marty Likier is a master consultant in Forsythe's IT Service Management practice. He can be reached at email@example.com.